University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Beekeeping and the Art of Honey Making

LEVEL I - Introductory Level


DEPARTMENT Centre for the Liberal Arts and Sciences

DESCRIPTION Honeybees are a traditional part of the Maltese landscape. They are important pollinators of many horticultural crops and wild flora. Besides, honeybees are also important in the pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops and even though we have no quantification in economic terms, the figure must be high in relation to the local market inputs. Thus honeybees constitute an invaluable resource to the Maltese agricultural community and to the environment.

This Unit will provide the basic information required for anyone interested in setting up an apiculture industry and provide knowledge on how to keep bees, production of queens, knowing and recognising bee diseases and their control.

It will also provide a focus on how the honey bee collects nectar from the different floral sources present in the Maltese Islands and how these transformed in the three main types of honey: multifloral spring honey, wild thyme honey and autumn honey. It will provide basic information on honey extraction and honey handling and all properties associated with good honey.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:

- Understand the interactions between honeybees and the environment with special reference to pollination;
- Appreciate all products that honeybees are able to produce such as honey, beeswax, propolis and pollen;
- Understand better the work of honeybees both inside and out of the hive.

2. Skills:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:

- Practise beekeeping;
- Recognise bee diseases and would have enough basic knowledge on how to manage them;
- Have relevant experience in queen making;
- Produce good quality honey.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Cutajar, J.P. (1973) The life of the honeybee. Union Press Valletta, Malta. 52 pp. [in Maltese]
- Hooper, T. (1997) Guide to bees and honey. 4th edition. Marston House. 272 pp.
- Longo, S. (1990) L’arnia tradizionale maltese. Apicolt. Mod., 81: 147-150.
- Longo, S. (1992) A soli 100 km dalla Sicilia conoscere l’apicoltura a Malta. Apitalia, 19 (3/4): 19-22.
- NSO (2004). Apiculture Census – Malta.
- Priore, R. (1980) L’apicoltura nell’isola di Creta. Natura e montagna, 4: 39-42.
- Sheppard, W.S., Arias, M.C., Grech, A. & Meixner, M.D. (1997) Apis mellifera ruttneri, a new honey bee subspecies from Malta. Apidologie, 28: 287-29.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Fieldwork

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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