Netherlands, Utrecht

Why we need bees

when 10 August 2015 - 13 August 2015
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee EUR 400

This is a basic introduction in the life habits of bees. Colony development of the honeybee can safely be inspected by the students. We study the amazing functions for building a nest with combs of wax, rearing new bees and forming new colonies through “swarming”. New insight will be given in foraging and communication for recruitment. The food processing and storage is shown. The morphology of workers, queen and drone will be explained discussing their functions. We basically introduce the difference between various bee groups, including bumble bees and their specific significance for pollination.

Bees are unique among the insects since they feed their larvae with pollen from flowers. The function of bees as most important pollinators in nature and agriculture is based on this characteristic. Pollination by bees of natural flora and agricultural crops is the central topic of the two bee courses in the USS program of 2015. The four-day course in Utrecht “Why we need bees” is a basic introduction in the biology and behavior of the honeybee (Apis mellifera). We will study morphology and physiology of the honeybee and learn through a (safe) practical introduction in beekeeping how the management of colonies for honey production and pollination is based on this knowledge. The course offers a first introduction in the difference between species of different bee groups, including bumble bees and their significance for pollination. We will also deal with the present world-wide decline of bees.The course will be concluded with a visit to commercial companies where bumblebees and honeybees are used for pollination.
This course may also serve as an introduction for the comprehensive course “Bees and Pollination” in Costa Rica.

Course leader

Prof. Dr. Marinus J. Sommeijer

Target group

MSc-students and PhD-students. Also open for advanced BSc-students.This course may be attractive to students of Science, Biology, Agronomy, Economy and Environmental studies.

Course aim

The aim is to introduce students in the biology and the management of bees and in the importance of bee pollination in agriculture. Students will obtain insight in the causes for the worldwide decline of bees. The fascinating “social” behaviour of bees will be demonstrated as well as the significance of beekeeping.

Credits info

1 EC
+ Certificate of Attendance

Fee info

EUR 400: Including housing
EUR 200: Excluding housing


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

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