BSc minor Ecosystem Services of Insects (WUEBC)

This minor focuses on the application of ecological knowledge to durable management of insect pests. Insects are the most diverse group of organisms (1 million described species – total number estimated to be 6 million species) that provide many ecosystem services. Of the 1 million known species, about 5000 (0.5 %) are pests that feed on our crops, our houses or transmit diseases.

Continue to an overview of the courses in this minor

The management of insect pests has often been considered to be reached by simple technological solutions (DDT, GM crops etc.). However, the most durable solutions to insect pests that have been developed, are those that seriously consider the ecology of the pests and integrate the solution into the pest's ecology. Biological control has a long history of success and Wageningen has made important contributions to this. The Wageningen approach is to develop profound knowledge of the ecology of pest and natural enemies first and then to utilise this in setting up a durable biological control programme.

This minor specifically addresses durable insect control by connecting basic ecological knowledge of insects with applications. Modern ecology covers different levels of biological integration ranging from genes to communities and this integrated approach is reflected in this minor as well.

NOTE: This minor contains a course with a maximum number of students participants. If you want to follow this minor as a "Bijvak or "exchange" student make sure you also choose an alternative course (and register this course in the form). That way you have an alternative if you cannot participate in this course. The information on if a course has a maximum number of participants can be found via the overview of the courses in the minor.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate insight into the (molecular) ecology of insects in the context of the unique biological features characteristic of insects and understand the importance of characteristics for biological control;
  • recognize state-of-the-art scientific advances in the behaviour, ecological genetics, life-history evolution, reproduction and adaptation to extreme environmental conditions of insects;
  • recognize different groups of organisms that can be employed in the biological control of insect pests;
  • demonstrate insight into the evolutionary aspects of insect ecology and their relation to biological control;
  • set up experiments, demonstrate experimental skills in a range of methods and techniques commonly used in the study of insect ecology and biological control and analyse personal experimental data and report on these;
  • recognize ecological and biological characteristics of pest and biological control agents that are important determinants of the success of biological control;
  • explain what legislation is in place that affects the application of biological control;
  • identify the economic interests of all stakeholders involved in biological control and how these interests align, and whether this influences the choice and structure of the pest control programmes.

Target group

This minor is interesting for WU-students of the BSc programmes:
BBI Biology
BPW Plant Sciences
BDW Animal Sciences
BBN Forest and Nature Conservation
BMW Environmental Sciences
BGM Health and Society

Also for other (inter)national BSc students who are interested in ecology of insects and its application, with special emphasis on insect (molecular) ecology and biological control and durable management of insect pests.

This minor was formerly known as Bsc minor Ecology and Biological Control of Insects.

Assumed Knowledge

VWO end level Biology




Second semester (period 4, 5 and 6)

Programme or thematic

Thematic minor