Frequently Asked Questions

Who may participate in the program?
Any individual with an interest in honeybees and beekeeping is invited to participate in this program. All examinations will be given within the state. Candidates must have worked with honey bees for a minimum of 4 months to take the Apprentice level test.

Is beekeeping experience necessary to apply?
Yes, at the Apprentice Level, you do not need to own a hive, but are required to have 4 months of beekeeping experience.

Will I learn about top bar hives, Warre hives, and other alternative hives?
Not at the Apprentice Level. You can learn about alternative hives at the Certified Level. You can certainly keep whatever style of hive you wish, but training at the Apprentice Level will be with Langstroth hives only. 

What are the requirements to be certified at the Apprentice, Certified or Master level? Is there a time limit to complete each certification level?
A list of the certification requirements for each certification are found with each program description. There is no time limit to complete each level of certification. You may move on to test the next level when you feel that you are prepared.  However, if an individual fails to pass a level in testing after three attempts, they are no longer permitted to continue testing.  Note that the required public service credits must be completed within three years of the level being tested.

What is the cost for participating in the program?
Each level has a $5.00 fee for testing with a $3.00 fee for retesting.

Do I have to start at the Apprentice Level if I am an experienced beekeeper?
Yes you would start at the Apprentice level.  The certifications are sequential. You must have the Apprentice certification to be accepted into the Certified Level program.

Is it necessary to take all certification levels to participate in the program?
No. It is up to the individual how many certification levels they pursue in the WV Master Beekeeper Program.

How old can public service credits be and still count
Credits can be no more than 2 years old and still count.

How do I document my public service credits?
There is a public service credit form that you bring with you for each test taken so the instructor can see that you have completed this requirement. At a minimum document what you did (i.e. Gave presentation to Barbour County Beekeepers on spring management), when you did it, and how many were in attendance.

Can I do the same public service credit more than once?

What books are good to study for the tests?

  • The Apprentice level test is taken from Beekeeping Basics published by the Penn State Cooperative Extension and available at 814-865-6713. 
  • Questions for the Certified level test are taken from Beekeeping Basics well as The Beekeeper’s Handbook by Diana Sammataro and The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum.
  • Question for the Master level test are taken from the Certified book list as well as Honey Bee Parasites, Pests, Predators and Diseases, Labeling Requirements for Marketing Your Honey available from the WV Department of Agriculture at 304-558-2210, and the WV Apiary Law (CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.  ARTICLE 13. INSPECTION AND PROTECTION OF AGRICULTURE) available online at and Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping (Chapters 12-20) by Dewey M. Caron and Lawrence John Connor.  Refer to the section Reading Lists for complete titles, sources, and suggested supplemental reading.

What kind of questions are on each test?
True/false, fill in the blank, and multiple-choice questions comprise most the Apprentice and Certified level testing. The Master level test contains the same with the addition of some short essay questions to explain of why something was done, to explain how to do something or to list items pertaining to a situation. The lab questions ask you what an item is and how it is used.

What is the difference between each level?

The apprentice is the beginner level. This tests your basic beekeeping knowledge. The certified level is the intermediate level. This tests your knowledge in more advance skills like re-queening, dividing hives, and entering honey shows. The master level is the advanced level. This tests your knowledge of several different ways to do things, how
you can help a beekeeper decide which way is best for them. At the master level, you must able to judge a honey show.

Can I help to judge a honey show and take a part in the beekeeping exam at the same time?
Yes. Each exam will take you approximately 1 to 2 hours to complete.