By Gerrit van de Klashorst
The importance of bees and other pollinators for natural and agricultural ecosystems has been well documented. But during the past decades, pollinators have been in decline in North America and Europe. This decline is attributed to a number of factors, including pesticides, habitat loss caused by changing land use, and bee diseases and pests, in particular Varroa mites.
Major studies relating to pollination services performed by managed and wild bees are now being executed. Some research implies that between 2008 and 2013 the number of feral bees went down on 25 percent of the U.S. land area. The conversion of land to grow corn for biofuels is indicated as a key element in the decline. If this trend continues, costs could be driven up and crop production could be destabilized.
Now the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and Utrecht University are sponsoring an international course called “Bees and Pollination” in Costa Rica, to be held August 16-26, 2016. Students will carry out observations in the field and in the lab on flower biology and bee behavior. In addition to the pollination function of bees, they will study general bee biology and behavior.
The course is aimed at international academic students, but a limited number of non-students, such as professors of beekeeping, biologists and entomologists can also participate. A basic knowledge of the honeybee or insects in general is desirable. The course is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the beautiful tropical nature of Costa Rica.
For more information, and to register, visit:
Gerrit van de Klashorst is an independent entomologist who has worked in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific region, providing consulting services on training and all aspects of project cycle management relating to ecology and protection of crops in the tropics.