ENT-51803 Insects and Society


Studiepunten 3.00

Individual Paper2
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. M Dicke
dr. M Kos
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. A van Huis
prof. dr. M Dicke
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 suitable when you are presently active in the 1st year of these curricula.

Continuation courses:

ENT-53806 Biological Control of Insects; ENT-54306 Insect Ecology; NEM-20806 Basics of Infectious Diseases; ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-Interactions; ENT-30806 Fundamental and Applied Aspects of the Biology of Insects; ENT-50806 Insect-Plant Interactions; PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-Interactions.


Note: This course will be given every other year in the evening (this year in periods 3 and 4 ). Please register for period 3 (registration for period 4 and exam in period 4 is done automatically).
Considerable declines in insect populations are reported frequently and for various places on Earth. The motto of the laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University and Research has long been: 'No life on Earth without insects!' Insects do not only provide the conditions for life on this planet but they are also an profound source of inspiration for people. Insects are delicious, important, beautiful, useful and provide important ecosystem services. What else do we want?
This course provides a broad view of the role of insects in society with lectures by specialists at the boundaries of biodiversity, nutrition, culture, technical sciences, agriculture and entomology. There are ample opportunities to enjoy insects, if only we have an open mind for this. Insects can transmit deadly diseases but also help solving murders. Insects provide inspiration to artists, as well as the designers of men’s toilets. These and many more topics feature in the course ‘Insects and Society’.

Learning outcomes:

After succcessful completion of this course students are 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;
- demonstrate insight into the importance of insects for western and African culture;
- demonstrate insight into the value of insects in education on nature conservation;
- demonstrate insight into the economic value of insects and;
- demonstrate insight into the potential of insects to contribute to technological advances;
- integrate information on the biology of insects with information on human culture and society;
- 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.




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