5.3. Identifying the target population

A survey of beekeepers can be used to collect reliable data on beekeepers and beekeeping activity and/or practice in a certain area or territory of a country. The target population of such a survey should be defined according to the data that one aims to collect. It could be targeted to beekeepers’ associations (local to national in scope) or the individual beekeeper. However, the target population is usually the set of all active beekeepers whose colonies are kept in the area of interest during the time period concerned. Consequently, coverage of individual beekeepers’ operations via associations might be incomplete and variable. How easy it is to access such a population depends on whether beekeepers voluntarily or under legal compulsion are registered with some record-keeping organisation. Examples might be:

  • A legally required register of all beekeepers within a given country;
  • A voluntary register of beekeepers within a region to which most beekeepers subscribe;
  • One or more regional or national beekeeping associations to which most beekeepers belong.

The coverage provided by such potential sources of data is clearly very variable, and the reliability of survey efforts will depend heavily on the adequacy of this coverage.