The Biology and Management of Honey Bee and Native Pollinators

Spring 2022
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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Insect populations are in peril throughout the world, but none more so than insect pollinators. This hands-on field program will focus on the biology, ecology, and management of the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, and the ecological, environmental, physiological, and behavioral needs of pollinators native to the PNW.

Our practical work will focus on renovating the Evergreen Organic Farm's beehive boxes, installing a practical hive inspection, and managing swarming in the spring quarter. We will also observe which native species are pollinating which flowers, identify potential and actual nesting sites, and consider how we could modify and enhance those sites. We'll have in-class and laboratory exercises on honey bee and native pollinator taxonomy, biology, anatomy, and physiology to support our fieldwork. During the summer quarter, we'll continue to inspect and manage the hives, and if conditions allow, we'll perform splitting a hive, requeening, honey harvest, queen production, collecting and rendering beeswax, management of bee pests, and artificially producing queens. Students will also learn how to prepare their hive for winter and monitor hives through the winter.

The work will be divided into a) academic work through readings, lectures, seminar discussions, field workshops, and b) a significant hands-on practicum designed to allow students to apply in-class learning. In the classroom, we will focus on the biology of Western honey bees  and the technical aspects of managing and caring for honey bee cultures. In the practicum part of the program, we will put our theoretical classroom knowledge to work by starting and managing honeybee hives through the quarter.

If managed properly, a typical colony of honey bees can produce 80 to 120 pounds of surplus (harvestable) honey and 10 to 18 pounds of pollen in an average year. Besides selling honey, and when conditions allow, we will try to produce other bee products such as rendering beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, bee venom, or queen production. We will also learn to identify native pollinators in the field and the laboratory using dichotomous keys and picture identification during our practicum time on the farm. In addition, we will monitor pollinator activity on the Organic Farm and surrounding area for food and nesting site preferences. Finally, we will practice building and evaluating hedgerow planting and other critical environmental modifications that will encourage and improve the survivorship of native pollinators. Spring seminar books will include Honeybee Democracy and recent primary literature.

This material will also be offered as a 16-credit program on honeybees and native pollinators in the summer; this spring offering is designed as part one of a two-quarter sequence, but for new students entering in summer, fundamental biology material will be repeated. Additionally, students can deepen their focus on the business of beekeeping and native pollinators during the fall quarter through the Changemaker Lab program, Business Fundamentals (…), where they will learn how to start and manage a beekeeping-related business.



Students need to have taken at least one biology class.

Spring 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 30266
Fr - Sr (1 - 16): 30382

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

Entomology, Ecology, Apiculture, Extension, Regulatory, Research, Food, and Conservation NGOs

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$50 required lab fee

Upper Division Science Credit

Upper division science credit may be awarded in ecology upon completion of an independent research project.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SAL 102 - Food Safe Lab
May be offered again in


Date Revision
2022-02-22 $50 required lab fee added