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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389097

Research Project: Ecological Assessment and Mitigation Strategies to Reduce the Risks of Bees to Stressors in Southern Crop Ecosystems

Location: Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research

Title: The impact of COVID-19 on beekeepers in Texas and Louisiana

item Lau, Pierre
item PAYNE, ALEXANDRIA - Texas A&M University
item KHAN, OMAR - Texas A&M University
item BUCHMAN, MARY - Texas A&M University
item RANGEL, JULIANA - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2022
Publication Date: 4/7/2022
Citation: Lau, P.W., Payne, A.N., Khan, O., Buchman, M.B., Rangel, J. 2022. The impact of COVID-19 on beekeepers in Texas and Louisiana. Journal of Apicultural Research. 61(3):309-314.

Interpretive Summary: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected each industry at different extents on a global level. For example, lock-downs at various extents have been enacted in different regions, supply chains have been disrupted, and work forces have been disturbed. The effects of the pandemic is seen globally, and beekeepers in the United States are not exempt. The objective of this study is to determine what effects COVID-19 pandemic has had on beekeepers in the United States. To do this, we surveyed 217 beekeepers across Texas and Louisiana. Most beekeepers in our survey reported minimal effects of the pandemic on beekeeping activities. However, there were a few notable exceptions, including activities that involved in-person participation and supply shortages. Understanding the impacts of COVID-19 on beekeeping activities can help us develop more efficient ways to minimize disruptions in future pandemic events.

Technical Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of society, including apiculture-related activities. A recent survey found that honey bee-related research has been negatively impacted by the pandemic on a global scale. However, to our knowledge, no study has yet explored how it has impacted beekeepers and their apiculture-related activities in the United States. For this reason, we conducted a survey of commercial, sideliner, and hobbyist beekeepers across Texas and Louisiana (n'='217) to determine whether and how COVID-19 impacted their beekeeping operations in 2020. Approximately half of all surveyed beekeepers answered that the COVID-19 pandemic had an overall negative impact on their beekeeping operations, while the other half reported no impact. There were differences in the types of responses among beekeeper classes, with hobbyist and sideliner beekeepers reporting more negative impacts on their beekeeping activities compared to commercial beekeepers. According to our survey data, the apiculture categories that were most negatively impacted by the pandemic were participation in beekeeper meetings, workshops, and conferences (~75% of respondents reported a negative impact), as well as involvement in beekeeping-related programs such as outreach and mentorship opportunities (~67%). However, for most of the other surveyed categories, the majority of beekeepers reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had no impact on their beekeeping activities/operations. This study gives us a better understanding of how apiculture has been impacted by the pandemic in the United States and how beekeepers faired in their operations during 2020.