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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: ASSESSING THE TRANSFER AND ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE MITE-RESISTANCE TRAIT VARROA-SENSITIVE HYGIENE (VSH)

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Determine the extent of dissemination and adoption of honey bees with the trait Varroa specific hygiene (VSH) in queen breeder and production operations in the United States. 2. Estimate economic impacts (direct and indirect) on the beekeeping industry of releasing queens with VSH trait via Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and Material Transfer Agreement (MTAs) to commercial queen breeders and producers in the United States.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1. A survey instrument will be developed by cooperator and USDA-ARS to solicit and gather information needed to determine the number of Varroa specific hygiene (VSH) breeder queens distributed by holders of Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and Material Transfer Agreement (MTAs) and the commercial queen producers to whom they sell VSH queens. This select pool of queen breeders and producers who release breeder or end-use queens with the VSH trait will be surveyed with a print and online questionnaire, using the Tailored Design Method (Dillman). Confidential responses will be analyzed and summarized by the cooperator. 2. Information that queen producers provide on sales and expenses, in conjunction with existing secondary data on prices for non-VSH queens and products and with adoption or usage levels of VSH queens (current and projected), will be used with IMPLAN coefficients to estimate direct and indirect impact from VSH queens.


3.Progress Report:

This is the final progress report for this project. 1. A four-page survey and cover letter were designed and printed for this project, in collaboration with USDA-ARS research scientists; the list of queen breeders provided by USDA-ARS was “cleaned” (remove duplicate operations) to 228 names for the initial mailing of the survey; a modification of the Dillman “Tailored Design Method” was used to administer the survey. This modification resulted in four contacts (letter with survey instrument, two reminder postcards, and final contact with letter and survey instrument) with the survey subjects. In total 228 individuals were mailed the survey. After two post card reminders and the final survey with cover letter were sent to queen breeders, 14 were returned to sender with an incorrect or unusable address and one deceased response. This meant 213 usable addresses or surveys were sent out. Of those, we received 109 responses for a 51% response rate. Of those responding, 73 out of 109 were selling queens of some variety.

2. We began compiling and tabulating the summary statistical information for the survey using the SAS statistical software program. A report of the summary statistics was delivered to USDA-ARS research faculty in the winter 2012-2013 for their review and comments.

3. Preliminary results of the analysis, including descriptive statistical analysis, were developed into a poster which was presented at the CNREP 2013: Challenges of Natural Resource Economics and Policy (poster citation: Leiby, J. and J. Westra. “Queen Bee Technology Adoption: The Case of VSH Queens.” CNREP 2013: Challenges of Natural Resource Economics and Policy, New Orleans LA, March 2013).

4. Adoption levels of varroa sensitive hygiene queen bees and the associated econometric factors will be estimated and described by mid-September 2013. A report of the adoption levels and factors associated with adoption will be delivered to USDA-ARS by the end of September 2013. Estimates of the economic impact of the line of VSH queen bees will be completed by mid-October, 2013 and a report will be delivered to USDA-ARS on these estimates by the end of October, 2013. Suggested revisions received from USDA-ARS for any of these three documents (summary statistical information, level of adoption of VSH queen bees, economic impact of VSH queen bees) will be incorporated into drafts of these documents and delivered to USDA-ARS soon after revisions are made.


Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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