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Viewing: ENT 203 : An Introduction to the Honey Bee and Beekeeping

Last approved: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:01:32 GMT

Last edit: Mon, 13 Mar 2017 19:25:24 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
ENT (Entomology)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
An Introduction to the Honey Bee and Beekeeping
Bees & Beekeeping
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Entomology & Plant Pathology (11ENT)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Every Year
Fall 2017
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)
GEP (Gen Ed)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
David R. Tarpy
Professor and Extension Apiculturist

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
Introduction to honey bee biology and a fundamental understanding of beekeeping management including crop pollination by bees. Examination of the relationships between honey bees and humans from prehistoric through modern times and the behavior and social system of one of the animal world's most complex and highly organized non-human societies.

A former instructor, Dr. John Ambrose, recently passed away. As such, the spring and summer sections will no longer be offered, nor will the ENT 203Q (First Year College) section be offered.

All other changes are simply additional information to reflect the ENT 203-001 section, as otherwise the information was absent or missing.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories
Natural Sciences
Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
1. Students are required to distinguish the morphological characteristics of honey bees from various wasp species that are often mistaken for honey bees (e.g., yellow jackets). In doing so, they are asked to evaluate different morphological and other characteristics of adult insects, appropriately assign them to different groups, formulate a hypothesis as to which group a specimen belongs to, and derive a solution to the identification question.

2. Students are asked to evaluate the importance of bee pollination on their food supply. They are asked to evaluate the different components of a recent meal for their relative contributions from pollinators, determine the proportion of their meal that is directly attributable to bee pollination, and conclude the relative importance of bees to their food supply.
1. Students are provided a picture of a yellow jacket and a honey bee on Exam 1, then asked "Which of these two insects is a honey bee, and which is a yellow jacket? Name two (physical) differences that led you to your answer."

2. Take-home assignment #3 reads: "Select a meal that you’ve eaten recently. List the various food components on the left, then explain for each whether or not honey bees were either directly or indirectly responsible for bringing that food item from the field to your table."
1. Students are required to reflect on animal communication and how bees actively recruit others to novel food sources using the "waggle dance" that communicates both distance and directional information. They are also exposed to the scientific debate that occurred among scientists in deciphering the dance language, as well as the empirical tests that were conducted to provide evidence for both sides of the debate.

2. Students are exposed to the various factors that have been tied to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), including pathogens, pesticides, and nutritional deprivation because of habitat loss. We discuss the relative weights of evidence for each and debate their relative importance to CCD specifically and honey bee health in general.

3. Following learning objective (d), students evaluate the economic importance of pollination by honey bees, and their contributions to our food supply. We learn that while staple crops (e.g., corn) generally do not require bee pollination, most of the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and forager crops that defines a healthy Western diet are inextricably linked to bee pollination.
1. Example exam questions on the dance language:

"You establish an observation hive in order to witness the honey bee dance language. You train foragers to a feeding station due north from the hive 2550 meters away. The sun is just setting, so it is due west. Draw the waggle dance of the returning foragers below."

"In another observation hive, you observe an untrained forager performing a waggle dance around daybreak so that the sun is due east. The waggle-run portion of the dance is approximately 45 degrees right of the vertical, as depicted below. What can you conclude about the compass direction and relative distance of her food source (i.e., near or far)?"

2. Example exam question on bee health:

"One of the calling cards of varroa mite infestation is that workers emerge with deformed wings. Why is this particularly problematic for colony health, resulting in the bees succumbing to them in 1-2 years?"

3. Example exam question on bee pollination:

"Albert Einstein is often (mis)quoted as saying 'If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.' Support or refute this claim."
Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.
b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?
List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.
List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)
Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

Class notes provided for download and posted on the course website (Moodle)

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and discuss fundamental components of honey bee biology and their behavior.

  2. Compare and contrast aspects of honey bee biology to the complementary systems of humans.

  3. Evaluate the economic importance of honey bees, with emphasis on bee pollination of crops and the production of various bee products on the U.S. economy.

  4. Analyze the consequences of potential problems involving honey bees, including Africanized honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder.

  5. Discuss the importance of honey bees and the honey bee’s society and the interpretation that has been placed on the insect and its society by various writers in comparing bee and human societies

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Quizzes15%Three unannounced quizzes (20 points each)
Homework10%Five take-home assignments (8 points each)
Test25%Exam 1 (100 points)
Test25%Exam 2 (100 points)
Test25%Exam 3 (100 points)
Attendance[-1% each]-4 points for each unexcused absence above three
Other[2.5%]optional +10 points extra credit for outside volunteerism and outreach at BugFest or the NC State Fair
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
What’s a honey bee, anyway?Lecture 2Before we can learn about honey bees, we first have to be able to distinguish them from other flying and/or stinging insects...
Who, what, when, and why: the honey bee colonyLecture 3Learn the basics of the colony, the nest, and the idealized annual life cycle of honey bees.
What bees do: behavior and division of labor within the hiveLecture 4A honey bee colony is a complex mix of fascinating social interactions, but they are by no means random. Discover how tens-of-thousands of bees are able to coordinate their work for optimal colony function.
Tales from the hiveLecture 5This is a PBS Nova series, in-class movie that provides beautiful video of within-hive activities of bees. Much of the footage is not covered elsewhere in the course, which is therefore eligible for exams. Be sure to take notes!
How to see, smell, and feel like a beeLecture 6Discover how bees perceive their universe, in some cases quite differently from humans.
What bees collect, eat, and makeLecture 7Learn the different foods of bees, how they obtain them, and what they do with them.
Deciphering the ‘language’ of the bees: communication through dancingLecture 8Learn how to talk to the animals, or at least listen to them! Besides human speech, honey bees have the only other form of abstract language in nature, so learn how to interpret them.
Collective consciousness: finding a new homeLecture 9Discover how bees are democratic in choosing a new nest site, and how tens-of-thousands of clueless insects can collectively make intelligent choices.
The birds and the bees, for beesLecture 11Discover the curious promiscuity of queen bees, and the reason why drones aren't that lucky after all.
Bees in boxes: the beehive and basic beekeepingLecture 12What are those funny suits that beekeepers wear? What makes up those boxes? Discover how people manage a colony of honey bees.
Sugar...oh, honey honey!Lecture 13Ever wonder how beekeepers get honey out of the comb? Watch the process from beginning to end, and even take home a sample of "Wolfpack honey"!
Hive products you don’t think aboutLecture 14Besides honey, there are many other products that beekeepers can harvest from their hives, from the obvious (e.g., beeswax) to the surprising (e.g., venom!).
Becoming Cinderella: queen rearing and breedingLecture 15Learn how beekeepers make new queens, how they transport them, and how they replace old queens with new ones.
What beekeepers really do: commercial pollinationLecture 16Beekeeping is much, much more than making honey. Over 100 crops depend on bees for seed and fruit set, so learn why one third of everything we eat is a direct result of honey bees.
Colony Collapse Disorder and the plight of pollinatorsLecture 17Bees, like most domesticated animals, have a lot of health issues. Learn how parasites, nutrition, pesticides, and other problems have negatively impacted the honey bee population.
The history of beekeeping: prehistoric to modernLecture 18Humans have been interacting with honey bees for millennia. See how this relationship has evolved over time.
Honey bees, mythology, and religionLecture 19Many cultures have, and still do, consider honey bees as otherworldly. Hear tales and stories about bees that have arisen over the centuries.
Bees in art and literatureLecture 20Central to all cultures is art in the physical and written forms. See how bees are reflected by artists and poets across the ages.
Bees and popular cultureLecture 21Compare and contrast the various ways that honey bees are evoked in modern media, movies, TV, and other forms.
Honey bees, warfare, and politicsLecture 22You'll be surprised how bees have been used, both directly and indirectly, in ancient and modern warfare!
Marketing of honeyLecture 23Explore the economic dynamics and impact of honey, and how the first and only sweetener has become a niche industry.
The hive and human societyLecture 24Watch and discuss the Nature documentary "Silence of the Bees" to see the societal impacts of bees and the environment.
Are Africanized really “killer” bees?Lecture 25The so-called "killer bees" are deeply rooted in the public consciousness. Discover if the fear accurately reflects reality.
The portrayal of AHB in popular culture: movie and discussionLecture 26Watch a video--with some of the worst acting on film--and discuss the pros and cons of how bees are portrayed.

aeherget (Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:26:11 GMT): AECHH: Uploading updated syllabus at instructor's request via email 2/24/2017.
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