Investigating the need for and interest in offering honey bee pollination services in apple production : perspectives from growers and beekeepers in Midt-Telemark, Norway
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- Master’s theses (BioVit) 
Studies show that having an abundance of honey bees, Apis mallifera, can increase yield and quality in fruit production. Managed honey bee pollination services may be a contributing factor to agricultural productivity. Still, many crop producers utilize honey bee pollination services only to a small extent today. This master’s thesis presents and discusses findings from in-depth interviews of apple growers and beekeepers on their perception about the need for and interest in offering managed honey bees for apple production in Midt-Telemark. Results showed that all growers value the benefits of honey bees, and several expressed a need to rent bee hives. The main reasons for this was to secure higher yield, better quality and more stable yields, especially in cold weather conditions in bloom. Despite appreciating honey bees’ contribution, results also showed that several did not see a need to rent bee hives due to sufficient pollination from surrounding pollinators, both wild and managed, to achieve desired quality and yield. A few growers also raised concerns that honey bee abundance could increase costs due to increased thinning work. Most beekeepers expressed an interest in offering honey bee pollination services, primarily because they want the additional income. The partnerships can also provide a location to place hives as well as lead to growth in their bee colonies. This thesis also presents and discusses suggested actions from participants on how to improve the current pollination services business and its organization. Participants suggest more collaboration within the farming community to bring more attention to the issue and to increase knowledge and information on apple pollination, as well as to implement more effective distribution of the services and agree on practices to minimize potential dangers to honey bee populations.