Biology and Management of Honey Bee and Native Pollinators

Spring 2023
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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Throughout the world, insect populations are in peril, but none more so than native pollinators and parasitoids. This program will focus on the biology and ecology of the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera , native pollinators, and parasitoids. Academic work will be divided between readings, lectures, seminar discussion, and a significant hands-on practicum portion involving learning how to manage beehives and the physical, ecological, environmental, physiological, and behavioral needs of native pollinators and parasitoids. Most of the focus will be on the biology of bees and other insect pollinators such as flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, and the ecological services they provide.

In the classroom, we will focus on the biology of honey bees and the technical aspects of managing and caring for honey bee cultures. What do honey bees need to thrive through each year? Why do honey bees swarm, and how do you prevent it? We will look at the life history and biology of bumblebees, flies, butterflies and other native pollinators. What environmental conditions do they need, and what habitat modifications can we provide to improve their chances for successful nesting and survival? We will also exam selected case studies of the life history, biology, and physiology of insect parasitoids.

In the practicum portion of the program, we will put our theoretical knowledge to work by starting and managing honeybee hives through the quarter. We will also learn how to identify native pollinators and parasitoids in the field and the laboratory using dichotomous keys and picture identification. In addition, we will practice building and planting hedgerows and other critical environmental modifications that will encourage and improve the survivorship of native pollinators and parasitoids. Finally, through classroom and field workshops, we will study and practice the latest techniques for measuring the impact of hedgerows and other environmental modifications on the native pollinator and parasitoid populations.

This program repeats materials taught in a similar program in Fall of 2022; students who have already successfully completed the previous iteration should seek other avenues for continuing their studies, including through Food and Agriculture Projects. 


Enrollment Conditions

An introductory level of Biology and Chemistry.


An introductory level of Biology and Chemistry.

Spring 2023 Registration

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

Entomology, Conservation work (i.e. NRCS or Conservation Districts), Apicuture farming

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

Upper-division credits could be awarded in ecology, agriculture or experimental biology. Students interested in upper division credit must submit a formal project proposal to their faculty.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule