Pollinator Research

Pollinator Courses at Cornell

Honey Bees: Their Intriguing Biology and Interactions with Humans

Teacher: Marina Caillaud
ENTOM 2030 is an undergraduate course offered in the Fall semester.
Offered alternate years.
3 credits.

Course Overview:

Honey bees have been an object of fascination for mankind since prehistoric times. They have, and still are, prized for their honey and beeswax. They are essential coworkers in agriculture. Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year, and their decline threatens the commercial production of many specialty crops that depend on them. The complexity of their communal life has intrigued many observers and scientists. This course aims to offer an exploration of one of the most amazing life forms we know. Topics covered include chemical ecology, insect physiology, beekeeping, behavioral ecology, pollination biology, sociobiology, Colony Collapse Disorder and Conservation Biology. The relationship between Humans and honeybees from prehistoric through modern age will be emphasized.

Course Outcomes:

  • Understand the basic biology of honey bees, their diversity, unique anatomy/physiology, behavior, complex society, chemical world and environmental adaptations.
  • Analyze the relationships between honey bees and Humans throughout History: how did they influence Human History? Do they still influence our daily daily life? How important are honey bees for our agriculture?
  • Evaluate some of the basic tools used in Biological Research and gain an appreciation for where our current understanding of Biology comes from.
  • Demonstrate self-directed learning in Biology by identifying and utilizing credible resources available to the educated layperson.
  • Communicate effectively biological principles and issues in both written and oral forms.

Master Beekeeper Program - still in development! Anticipated to start in early 2017

Developer & Instructor: Emma Mullen
This program is a certificate program offered through eCornell.

Course Overview: 

Beekeeping is a hobby or profession that takes years to master. During the first few years a beekeeper gains basic skills in installing bees into hives, feeding bees, building healthy colonies, and helping them survive the winter. During this time, beekeepers observe their bees and begin to learn some of their fascinating behaviors.

After 3 years, a beekeeper has developed the foundation to move on to develop more advanced techniques in the bee yard and learn honey bee biology at a deeper level. Students will participate in courses on a variety of topics including pest and disease ID and treatment, how to properly perform a colony inspection, the social behavior & communication of bees, identifying flowers important for bee nutrition, business basics for running your own operation, and more. Master beekeepers become valuable resources for ensuring healthy pollinator populations in our environment and also for educating new beekeepers that are just beginning this fascinating adventure.


Pollinator Reading Group

Organizer: Scott McArt
Overview: Bi-weekly discussion group surrounding the latest research on pollinators. Cornell research scientists, professors, staff, other faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students are all encouraged to participate.

Reading group timeline: Began fall 2015, meetings in Comstock Hall 2123 every other Monday @ 9am