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While the United States beekeeping market makes up a miniscule portion of the animal farming sector, accounting for less than 1% of total revenue, its trends do not stray far from the sector's overall performance.
John Harbison, originally from Pennsylvania, successfully brought bee keeping to the US west coast in the 1860s, in an area now known as Harbison Canyon, California, and greatly expanded the market for honey throughout the country.
Before the 1980s, most U.S. hobby beekeepers were farmers or relatives of a farmer, lived in rural areas, and kept bees with techniques passed down for generations. The arrival of tracheal mitesin the 1980s and varroa mites and small hive beetles in the 1990s has made the practice more challenging for the hobbyist.
Beekeeping was traditionally practiced for the bees' honey harvest, although nowadays crop pollination service can often provide a greater part of a commercial beekeeper's income. Other hive products are pollen, royal jelly, and propolis, which are also used for nutritional and medicinal purposes, and beeswax, which is used in candle making, cosmetics, wood polish, and for modelling.
Domestic and global weather conditions, import competition and the incidence of disease have defined revenue during the five years to 2012. Aggregate revenue declined during 2007 because of colony collapse disorder (CCD), a disease that led to the mysterious disappearance (a 35.8% drop) of many of the United States' honeybee colonies.
US beekeeping industry revenue has grown 3.3% from 2011 to 2012, as the volume of honey produced expanded 1.6% due to extensive drought conditions in continental US. Despite the volatility over the five-years to 2012, revenue has grown at an average annual rate of 10.1%, to an estimated $268.9 million.
Over the five years to 2017, revenue within the US beekeeping market will grow slowly at an average annual rate of 3% to $311.9 million. Cheap imports will continue to replace domestic production, expected to account for about 70% of US demand by 2017.
However, US beekeepers will likely market their products for new activities in the near future. Revenue is expected to jump 8.8% in 2013, partly due to new uses for the industry's product.
For more information on the US beekeeping market, see the latest research: US Beekeeping Market
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