Title page for ETD etd-03262014-130020

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Leiby, Julie
URN etd-03262014-130020
Title Factors Influencing Adoption of VSH Queens in the Honey Bee Breeding Industry
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Westra, John V Committee Chair
Gillespie, Jeffrey M Committee Member
Kazmierczak, Richard F Committee Member
  • probit
  • queen honey bees
  • technology adoption
  • Varroa Sensitive Hygiene
  • VSH
Date of Defense 2013-12-18
Availability unrestricted
There are many threats that contribute to the decline in honey bee colonies around the United States; among them is the Varroa mite, Varroa destructor. The Varroa mite is a significant threat to honey bees and, by extension, beekeepers across the United States. It is suspected to be one of the main contributors to the increase in colony collapse and the decline in bee numbers and the beekeeping industry (Danka, May 2013). Fifty-five percent of beekeepers exited beekeeping between 1987 and 2002 (USDA). Although honey production continued to decrease through 2007, the number of beekeepers entering beekeeping had increased (USDA). In 2006, the Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) genetic line of bees was developed in response to the destruction associated with the Varroa mite. The hygienic behavior of this line of bees helps reduce susceptibility of colonies to Varroa mites and results in stronger colonies with increasing bee populations (Rinderer, 2010). Relatively little information exists on the adoption level of VSH technology in the beekeeping community and beekeeper’s perceptions of VSH technology. The objective of this study is to identify and discuss factors that significantly influence the decision of adopting VSH technology. Using data collected from a sample of 228 queen breeders across the United States that previously adopted other Varroa sensitive technologies, a probit model is used to analyze the factors involved in influencing the adoption of VSH queens by queen breeders. Factors analyzed include sources of information available, risk preference, sales attributes, demographic information, and income. Results indicate that education level, being risk averse and income all had a significant influence on the adoption decision.
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