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Title:Crops, pesticides, and honey bee disease
Author(s):Pasciak, Jessica
Advisor(s):Baylis, Katherine R.
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Honey bees
honey bee health
morbidity factors
forage crops
Abstract:Honey bee colonies are an essential factor in American agriculture and of overall ecosystem health. The winter of 2006 marked an observation of large scale losses of managed honey bee colonies (vanEngelsdorp et al, 2009). Since then, there has been an average loss of 30% of colonies in beekeeping operations across the United States over the winter months (vanEngelsdorp et al, 2012). Total honey bee populations have increased in the past 5 years, but there are still many concerns for honey bee health decline. Researchers have not yet found a specific cause of the decline, but four different factors have been proposed as contributors to the decline. These factors include pesticides, parasites and diseases, management practices, and nutritional factors. In order to help the mission to combat colony losses, I employ new methods to consider the environmental causes of honey bee disease. This thesis analyzes the spatial correlation between colony locations, changes in cropping patterns, and identified morbidity measures. Utilizing USDA APHIS honey bee morbidity data, National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) cropland data, and NASA HoneyBeeNet forage data; I consider the effect of key nectar sources in a 2-mile radius around 836 honey bee apiaries sampled in 2011/2012 for various diseases associated with lower productivity and higher mortality rates. This thesis employs a multivariate regression analysis that focuses specifically on the suspected correlations between natural areas and disease load, as well as agricultural field crops and disease load. The conclusions of this analysis show that natural areas do not seem to have a strong or significant impact on honey bee morbidity factors. In my analysis, I observe that agricultural land does not have a consistent negative impact on disease load, except for a possible correlation between the acres of soybeans with Varroa mite loads and the Deformed Wing Virus. One interesting conclusion of this thesis is that the magnitudes of the correlations are much higher for the interaction of diseases than they are for the magnitudes of the correlations between morbidity factors and environmental factors. Through a spatial regression analysis I find evidence suggesting that disease outcomes in colony observations may be correlated with the disease outcomes of their neighboring colonies.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Jessica Pasciak
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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