Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

Degree Program

Interdisciplinary Studies concentration in Sustainability, MS

Committee Chair

Carreiro, Margaret

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Eason, Perri

Committee Member

Eason, Perri

Committee Member

Markowitz, Lisa

Author's Keywords

beekeeping; honeybee; Louisville; socio-ecology; political ecology; sustainability


Humans have a long history of the practice of beekeeping to harness the power of pollination. This managed pollinator system consists of beekeepers, honeybees, and their environment. However, recent disease, pesticide use, and land use factors honeybee threaten this relationship. In the face of such concerns it is important to examine the factors that impact and can help sustain our managed pollinator systems. In this thesis, the national and Kentucky state-level policies that affect managed pollinator systems were examined and socio-ecological factors that may contribute to honeybee hive growth and losses were assessed along an urban development gradient in Louisville, KY metropolitan area. Chapter 1 provides a brief review of the honeybee managed pollinator system in relation to sustainability and describes the conceptual framework used in this study. In Chapter 2, national and state policies and plans are described, trends and gaps within them analyzed for their impact on beekeepers, and possible improvements discussed. This policy analysis revealed that policy is shifting from prioritizing commercial beekeeping and economic solutions to more public engagement and research-based solutions through the implementation of pollinator protection plans and public-private partnerships. In Chapter 3, potential socio-ecological determinants of honeybee hive growth were explored using a survey of Louisville area beekeepers. Land use did not significantly explain any variation while beekeeper experience were trends and motivation was significant for hive gain. These results suggest that the success of this managed pollinator system in the Louisville area depend on policies and well informed decision-making by beekeepers.

Included in

Apiculture Commons