Saving which bees? Influence and socio-ecological impact of the 'natural' movement in beekeeping.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Politics


Decision-making around honeybee management is the critical context in which conflicting actions materialise from shared aims to 'save the bees'. But which bees? Western honeybees are but one species within 20,000, and there has been significant recent interest in their negative impact upon wild pollinators through disease spread and forage competition. Socio-ecological impacts of rising natural beekeeping practices remain unknown; could they cause more harm to wild pollinators through increased disease spread than benefit to honeybees through facilitation of natural selection? Is this mitigated by reduced stocking rates and more sensitive land management compared to conventional beekeeping? This cross-council inter-disciplinary study will explore changing perspectives, values and practices of beekeepers engaged collaboratively with our research. Our research questions are:
1. How do perspectives and values within and around the natural beekeeping movement change over time?
2. Does participation in socio-ecological research influence perspectives and values?
3. What are the ecological impacts of natural beekeeping practices (specifically swarm, Varroa and habitat management)?


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2399629 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2028 Fay Kahane