Honey Bees, Almonds, and Colony Mortality: An Economic Simulation of the U.S. Pollination Market

Chengcheng J. Fei, Kendra M. Williamson, Richard T. Woodward, Bruce A. McCarl and Juliana Rangel


Motivated by increasing threats to pollinator health and increasing pollination contract fees, we develop a simulation model for the honey bee pollination and honey production market. The model, calibrated using 2015 and 2016 data, incorporates population dynamics, 15 crops, and transportation of managed honey bee colonies across several states. In our model, forage that bees need is particularly scarce, and further increases in almond acreage will have little effect on the fees paid for pollination services. However, increases in bees’ winter mortality will lead to increases in early-season pollination fees and declines in late-season fees.

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