University of Alberta
Bugs 101: Insect-Human Interactions
University of Alberta

Bugs 101: Insect-Human Interactions

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

45,845 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Dr. Maya Evenden

Instructor: Dr. Maya Evenden


(1,352 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
49 hours to complete
3 weeks at 16 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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There are 13 modules in this course

Arthropods, which includes insects, are the most speciose group of animals on the planet. In this module, we explore some of the traits that have allowed insects to dominate terrestrial landscapes around the world, and introduce you to the major insect orders you’ll deal with in the course.

What's included

12 videos8 readings2 quizzes2 plugins

What makes an insect an insect? How do these strange creatures operate? This module begins to uncover the inner workings of insects, starting with the digestive and circulatory systems.

What's included

6 videos2 readings1 quiz4 plugins

Building on the previous module, we continue to explore insect biology through an overview of the major physiological systems of insects. We look at the nervous and reproductive systems, and highlight some of the ways insects court, seduce, and reproduce.

What's included

7 videos2 readings1 quiz3 plugins

Did you know that insects are the strongest animals in the world for their size? Find out what makes insects so strong in this module, in which we introduce insect musculature and how they use it to get around. From swimming to flying, we explore the many ways insects move and the specialized appendages they've evolved to do so.

What's included

12 videos2 readings1 quiz2 plugins

Without decomposers, dead trees and leaves would pile up in forests, and we would be walking knee deep in dung and animal carcasses. Insect decomposers help to recycle these materials and many others back into the earth, recycling the nutrients to be used by other organisms again. This module unearths the importance of these decomposers to our ecosystem, and even discusses some ways these insects can be used to help solve crimes.

What's included

6 videos2 readings1 quiz

This module focuses on the vegetarians of the insect world. A long evolutionary history with plants has led to the development of some interesting feeding strategies in insects, and some wild defenses in the plants they eat. Some of these herbivores can be important pests, and may change entire ecosystems through their feeding.

What's included

7 videos2 readings1 quiz1 plugin

Over millions of years, pollinators have formed a close relationship with flowering plants, and have helped shape our society and the world around us. Today, many crops are reliant on pollinating insects, and entire industries have been developed around beekeeping. We explore pollination and beekeeping in this module, and discuss some of the challenges pollinators face in our rapidly changing world.

What's included

9 videos3 readings1 quiz

Many globally important diseases can be transmitted by insects, and insects themselves can present a nuisance in some situations. This module compares different modes of disease transmission, and highlights some important diseases of plants, humans, and other animals.

What's included

6 videos2 readings1 quiz

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a pillar of modern crop production, and the preservation of ecosystem function/health. A variety of chemical pesticides can be a part of IPM programs. The different insecticides available to manage insect pests vary in many regards, such as their modes of action and application. The use of these pesticides is not without risks, however, and these must be considered if we want to reap the benefits these chemicals can provide.

What's included

6 videos2 readings1 quiz

Biological and cultural control strategies are critical components of IPM systems that allow us to control pests in different ways, and reduce the input of chemical pesticides into the environment. This module introduces these two approaches, and a wide variety of biological control agents which can be employed to control insect pests.

What's included

6 videos3 readings1 quiz

Many of us have thought at one time or another that the world may be better off without pest insects like mosquitoes. This module aims to change that view, as we discuss the importance of insect conservation and the variety of ways the changing world impacts insect populations.

What's included

7 videos3 readings1 quiz

Entomologists are not the only ones to be inspired by the insect world. From historical myths and folklore, to modern art, film, and even video games; insects and other arthropods have appeared throughout human culture. They have even influenced the development of new technologies, and could be part of the solution to global issues like food shortages.

What's included

6 videos3 readings1 quiz

We hope that you have enjoyed the course, and walk away with a newfound appreciation for the insect world. Check out this module to hear about your instructors favourite insects, and don’t forget to complete the post-course quiz to see if your perceptions have changed!

What's included

1 video1 reading1 quiz


Instructor ratings
4.9 (674 ratings)
Dr. Maya Evenden
University of Alberta
1 Course45,845 learners

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