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While the demand for pollination services have been increasing, continued declines in honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), colonies have put the cropping sector and the broader health of agro-ecosystems at risk. Economic factors may play a role in dwindling honey bee colony supply in the United States, but have not been extensively studied. Using data envelopment analysis (DEA), we measure technical efficiency, returns to scale, and factors influencing the efficiency of those apiaries in the northern Rocky Mountain region participating in the pollination services market. We find that, although over 25% of apiaries are technically efficient, many experience either increasing or decreasing returns to scale. Smaller apiaries (under 80 colonies) experience increasing returns to scale, but a lack of available financing may hinder them from achieving economically sustainable colony levels. Larger apiaries (over 1,000 colonies) experience decreasing returns to scale. Those beekeepers may have economic incentivizes to decrease colony numbers. Using a double bootstrap method, we find that apiary location and off-farm employment influence apiary technical efficiency. Apiaries in Wyoming are found to be more efficient than those in Utah or Montana. Further, engagement in off-farm employment increases an apiary's technical efficiency. The combined effects of efficiency gains through off-farm employment and diseconomies of scale may explain, in part, the historical decline in honey bee numbers.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of economic entomology
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The coordination of services in one area of a facility to improve efficiency.
A sweet viscous liquid food, produced in the honey sacs of various bees from nectar collected from flowers. The nectar is ripened into honey by inversion of its sucrose sugar into fructose and glucose. It is somewhat acidic and has mild antiseptic properties, being sometimes used in the treatment of burns and lacerations.
The medical use of honey bee products such as BEE VENOM; HONEY; bee pollen; PROPOLIS; and royal jelly.
Planning that has the goals of improving health, improving accessibility to health services, and promoting efficiency in the provision of services and resources on a comprehensive basis for a whole community. (From Facts on File Dictionary of Health Care Management, 1988, p299)
The aggregate of manufacturing or technically productive enterprises in a particular field, often named after its principle product, as "the automobile industry", "the steel industry". It includes the ownership and management of companies, factories, industrial plants, etc. (From Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2d ed)