Course code LauZ5166

Credit points 5

Beekeeping and Pollination Biology

Total Hours in Course200

Number of hours for lectures40

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes30

Number of hours for laboratory classes10

Independent study hours120

Date of course confirmation10.12.2019

Responsible UnitInstitute of Soil and Plant Science

Course developers

author Augsnes un augu zinātņu institūts

Jānis Gailis

Dr. agr.

author Augsnes un augu zinātņu institūts

Dace Siliņa

Dr. agr.

author Augsnes un augu zinātņu institūts

Marta Liepniece

Mg. agr.

Course abstract

During the study course, students are acquainted with actual issues on beekeeping and apiary, on precise technologies in beekeeping, on biology of pollination, on diversity, biology and ecology of wild bees and other anthophilous insects and on usage of pollinators in plant protection.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge on subspecies of honeybee and their usage in purposeful beekeeping and pollination; on diversity of wild bees and other anthophilous insects; on biology and ecology of plant pollination.
Skills to identify subspecies of honeybee and taxa of wild pollinators; to diagnose diseases of honeybee and pests of beekeeping.
Competences on usage of honeybee in beekeeping; on usage of domesticated pollinators in plant protection practice; on precise technologies of agriculture in beekeeping.

Knowledge, skills and competences are assessed using:
1) Laboratory works and study visits during which, students have to accomplish established tasks;
2) Two oral reports presented during seminars;
3) Prepared and submitted final paper of the study course, also orally presented during the seminar.

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Phylogenesis of the honeybee; colony and its composition. Morphological and anatomical differences of individuals. Sensory organs, locomotion. Characteristics of subspecies.
2. Breeding of the honeybee, its genetic fundamentals, methods (selection, hybridization, and inbreeding) and organization. Types of insemination of queens - natural, instrumental. Assessment of quality and productivity of queens. Breeding process in beekeeping.
3. Purposeful methods in beekeeping to obtain/produce particular products: honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom, vax, package bees, breeding of queens, pollination services, urban beekeeping. Types of hives, equipment and tools for different methods of beekeeping.
4. Feed base of the honeybee; choice of feed and its impact on colony during its different stages.
5. Economically most important parasitic and nonparasitic diseases of the honeybee and pests of beekeeping. Diagnostics, prevention and limitation.
6. Biology and ecology of pollination. Abiotic and biotic pollination. Classification of plants and flowers depending on type of pollination. Practical aspects of pollination. Impact of environmental factors on interactions between plants and pollinators. Climate changes and plant pollination. Natural attractants for pollinators: colour, shape and odour of flowers, nectar and pheromones.
7. Fauna and ecology of bees in Latvia. Superfamily of bees (Apoidea): mining bees (Andrenidae), plasterer bees (Colletidae), sweat bees (Halictidae), mason bees (Megachilidae), melittid bees (Melittidae). Other anthophilous insects: hoverflies (Syrphidae), Darwin wasps (Ichneumonidae) etc., their role in plant pollination. Ecosystem services in pollination of cultivated plants.
8. Usage of domesticated pollinators in plant protection. Entomovectoring.
9. Precise technologies and methods of agriculture in beekeeping. Decision support systems in beekeeping and pollination, their practical application.
Topics of practical works and laboratory works:
- Identification of subspecies of the honeybee (morphometric);
- Diagnostics of diseases of the honeybee;
- Analyses of honey (melissopalinology);
- Quality assessment of honey and/or other products of beekeeping;
- Identification of wild bees and other anthophilous insects.

Requirements for awarding credit points

Factors constituting final grade:
- two oral reports, 40%;
- study visits with particular tasks, 20%;
- final paper and its oral presentation, 40%.
All tasks must be accomplished; grade of reports and final paper must be at least 4.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Each student prepares two independent works - 15 min. long oral presentations on beekeeping (1) and on pollination (2).
During the study visits, enterprises practicing beekeeping and/or exploiting ecosystem services or seminars may be attended.
Preparation of the final paper (MS Word, five till 10 pages without references and appendixes) + oral presentation on raffled topic.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Assessment (in ten-point scale) of the oral reports consists of organization of contents, presentation skills, usage of professional terminology, quality of visual materials, quality of sources of literature, usage of references, compliance with time limit.
Assessment of the study visits – done/not done. If the study visit is not attended then final grade of the study course is diminished.
Assessment (in ten-point scale) of the final paper depends on its arrangement, usage of professional and scientific terminology, logic of conclusions, quality of presentation, ability to answer questions during the presentation, quality of visual materials, usage of references.

Compulsory reading

1. Dade H.A. Anatomy and dissection of the honeybee. Cardiff: International Bee Research Association, 1994. 158 p.
2. The hive and the honey bee: a new book on beekeeping which continues the tradition of “Langstroth on the hive and the honeybee”. Ed. Graham J.M. Hmilton, Illinois: Dadant & Sons, 1992. 1324 p.
3. Delaplane S.K., Mayer D.F. Crop pollination by bees. CABI Publising Nev York, 2000. 333 p.
4. Dimiņš F. Medus kvalitātes novērtēšanas rādītāji. Promocijas darba kopsavilkums inženierzinātņu zinātniskā grāda iegūšanai pārtikas zinātnē. Latvijas Lauksaimniecības universitāte. Jelgava, 2006. 35 lpp.
5. Delaplane K.S., Mayer D.F. Crop pollination by bees. Oxon: CABI Publishing, 2000. 344 p.

Further reading

1. Breeding the Honeybee. A Contribution to the Science of Beebreeding. Brother Adam. Northern bee books. Mytholmroyd: Hebden Bridge, 1987. 118 p.
2. The Hive and the Honey Bee. Ed. Graham J.M. Hmilton, Illinois: Dadant & Sons. Publisher of the American bee Journal, 2015. 1057 p.
3. Koeniger G., Koeniger N., Ellis J., Connor L. Mating biology of Honey bees (Apis mellifera). Michigan: Wicwas Press LLC, 2014. 155 p.
4. Stell I. Understanding Bee Anatomy: a full colour guide. The catford Press, 2012. p 199
5. Puusepp L., Koff T. Pollen analysis of honey from the Baltic region, Estonia. Grana, No. 53(1), 2014. p. 54-61.
6. Kjohl M., Nielsen A., Stenseth N.Ch. Potential effects of climate change on crop pollination. Rome: FAO of the United Nations, 2011. 38 p.

Periodicals and other sources

Apidologie. Official journal of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and Deutschen Imkerbundes e.V. (D.I.B.). (Online). URL:
[skatīts 29.11.2019.].


Academical Higher Education Master’s Study Program “Agriculture”, Specialization – Field-Crop Cultivation and Horticulture