ENT-51803 Insects and Society


Studiepunten 3.00

Individual Paper2
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. M Dicke
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. M Dicke
prof. dr. ir. A van Huis
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Dicke
prof. dr. ir. A van Huis

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

1st year BSc curricula Biology, Forest and Nature Management, Animal Sciences, Plant Sciences prepares for this course, also when you presently are in the 1st year of these curricula.

Continuation courses:

GEN-20306 Molecular and Evolutionary Ecology; ENT-30806 Fundamental and Applied Aspects of the Biology of Insects; ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions; ENT-50806 Insect-Plant Interactions; PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-interactions.


Note: This course will be given once in 2 years in the evening (next time 2018/2019).
The role of insects in human society, in the past, present and future has many facets. This lecture series will provide detailed illustrations of this role from the perspective of different disciplines such as food and nutrition, medicine, cultural anthropology, history and entomology itself. Insects are the most successful group of organisms; they comprise 60 - 80% of all species on earth. Insects are also vital for human survival, due to their role in pollination of agricultural crops and the conversion of waste products. Insects can be employed for solving human health problems as producers of medicinal substances, as wound healing agents, and as experimental models. Other aspects that will be dealt with are: insects as forensic evidence, insects as food for humans and feed for husbandry animals and the role of insects in human history.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course the student is expected to be able to demonstrate insight into:
- the link between the biology of insects and other fields ranging from food science, medical and veterinary science, history, art;
- the importance of insects for western and African culture;
- the value of insects in education on nature conservation;
- the economic value of insects and;
- the potential of insects to contribute to technological advances.
At the end of the course the student is expected to be able to integrate information on the biology of insects with information on human culture and society and to describe the role of insects in human society with special reference to a particular field of choice.


- lectures on topics that link the biology of insects with human society;
- writing of essay on a topic of choice in the field where the biology of insects is linked to a topic related to human society.




a) Berenbaum, M. 1995. Bugs in the System. (b) Huigens, T, de Jong, P. et al. 2006. Muggenzifters en Mierenneukers. Insecten onder de Loep genomen.