96202 - Apidology and Agricultural Zoology Applied to Pest Control

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Zero hunger Life on land

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know the biology of the main beneficial and pest animals in agriculture. The student will be able to integrate the knowledges from the previous entomological courses.

Course contents


The student who accesses this teaching has a good preparation in general and applied entomology, and he knows the basic principles of the plant protection from pests. These prerequisites are provided by the Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences


Evolutionary and comparative zoology. Elements of general and systematic zoology. Ecology and animal biodiversity concepts applied to plant pest management.

Main animal phyla: Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, Mollusca, Anellida, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, Cordata.

Agricultural Acarology. Mites taxonomy, morphology, anatomy and physiology.

Bio-ecology of the following species: Tetranychus urticae, Panonychus ulmi, Panonychus citri, Eotetranychus carpini, Eotetranychus pruni, Eriophyes pyri, Epitrimerus pyri, Colomerus vitis, Phytonemus pallidus, Phytoptus avellanae, Polyphagotarnemus latus. Veterinary and human mites (brief notes): Ixodes, Argas, Dermanyssus, Varroa, Acarapis, Trombicula, Demodex, Pyemotes, Sarcoptes, Glycyphagus, Dermatophagoide.

Mites and plant pest management: biological and conservative control of mite pests, beneficial mites: Phytoseiulus persimilis, Amblyseius andersoni, Typhlodromus pyri.

Agricultural Nematology. Nematodes taxonomy, anatomy and physiology. Functional clssification: cist neatodes, gall nematodes, endo-ectoparisitic nematodes. Nematode vectors of plant viruses.

Bio-ecology of the following species: Heterodera schachtii, H. betae, H. avenae, H. carotae, H. glicine; Globodera rostochiensis, G. pallida,Meloidogyne incognita, M. arenaria, M. hapla, M. chitwoodi, M. fallax, Dityilenchus dipsaci, Anguina tritici, Aphelenchoides spp., Bursaphelenchus spp., Pratylenchus spp. Longidorus elongatus e L. spp., Xiphinema index, X. americanum sensu lato.

Nematodes and plant pest management: biological control of nematodes, biofumigation techniques, entomopthogenic nematodes (Steinernema spp., Heterorhabditis spp.).

Agricultural zoology. Bio-ecology of some species of agricultural interest of the following groups: Mollusca, other Arthropoda, Aves, Mammalia.


History of apidology and beekeeping. Systematics, phylogeny, external morphology and general anatomy of bee.

Biology of Apis mellifera, management and rearing techniques: the society of bees. Development and roles of the different castes. Sociophysiology of honey bees. Main enemies and diseases of adults and broods. Materials and equipment for beekeeping. Beekeeping practices. Beehive products.

Biology of Bombus terrestris, management and rearing techniques: Life cycle. Thermoregulation. Social organization and conflict. Mating. Natural enemies. Factors limiting the growth of bumblebee populations.

Biology of Osmia spp., management and rearing techniques: Life cycle: mating, nesting, development, pre-wintering, wintering, incubation and spring emergence. Parasites, predators and pathogens. Factors limiting the growth of Osmia populations. Nesting materials and management of populations for crop pollination: the releasing and rearing method.

Biology of Megachile rotundata, management and rearing techniques: Life cycle. Nesting materials and management of populations for crop pollination.

Biology of Nomia melanderi and Eucera pruinosa management and rearing techniques: Life cycle. Nesting materials and management of populations for crop pollination.

Biology of Meliponinae and Meliponiculture:
Biology, ecology and management for crop pollination and honey production.

Problems linked with the introduction and diffusion of managed bees.

Strategies to match the need of plant disease control with the use of bees as crop pollinators and schemes for the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees.

The health status of bees.


For the preparation of the course, the teachers will provide in IOL the PowerPoint lessons used during the teaching.

For further information, the following books are recommended:

  • Baccetti B. 2000 (a cura di) - Manuale di Zoologia Agraria - Antonio Delfino Editore, Roma.
  • Tacconi R. 1980 – Nematodi di interesse agrario. Clueb, Bologna.
  • Laffi F., Ponti I. 1997 - Acari Dannosi alle Piante. Edizioni L'informatore Agrario
  • Contessi A. 2016 – Le api: Biologia, allevamento, prodotti. Edagricole, Bologna.
  • Delaplane K. S. 2021 - Crop Pollination by Bees, Volume 1. CABI
  • AA.VV. 2015 - Nematologia agraria generale e applicata - Società Italiana di Nematologia
  • Vacante V. 2016 - The Handbook of Mites of Economic Plants: Identification, Bio-ecology and Control. CABI, Wallingford, UK.
  • AA. VV. 2014 - Patologia e avversità dell’alveare (a cura di Emanuele Carpana e Marco Lodesani). Springer
  • AA.VV. 2008 - Bee population in agricultural ecosystems (edited by Rosalind R. James, Theresa L. Pitts-Singer). Oxford University Press.
  • Goulson D. 2010 - Bumblebee. Behaviour, ecology and conservation. Dave Goulson. Oxford University Press.

Teaching methods

The course includes theoretical lectures, practical lectures in the classroom and laboratory, as well as visits to institutions involved in sustainable plant protection.

  • Lectures (36 hours) treat the program in a theoretical way.
  • Practical activities (24 hours)

Assessment methods

Final oral exam (duration: about 15 minutes)

Teaching tools

PC, PowerPoint projector

Office hours

See the website of Fabio Sgolastra

See the website of Giovanni Giorgio Bazzocchi