Level Requirements

APPRENTICE LEVEL

  1. Four months of beekeeping experience is needed prior to taking practical test. This may consist of beekeeping in a mentor’s apiary or in their own apiary.
  2. Be a current West Virginia Beekeepers Association (WVBA) member.
  3. Pass a written test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.
  4. Pass a practical test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.  The apprentice examination can include but is not limited to describing the physical parts of a beehive (common terms, not regional nomenclature); lighting and properly using a smoker; recognizing the various stages of brood; different castes of bees; and finding or at least describing the queen; differentiating between brood, pollen, and capped honey; recognizing propolis and describing its functions; describing the layout of a brood nest (placement of honey, pollen, and brood).

CERTIFIED LEVEL

  1. Three years of beekeeping experience with one year minimum as an Apprentice Beekeeper.
  2. Maintain active membership in the WVBA and maintain a registered apiary in the state of residence at the time of testing.
  3. Pass a written test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.
  4. Pass a practical test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.

In addition to items found at the apprentice level, certified testing will include the following    subject areas: seasonal beekeeping requirements; basic history of beekeeping; honey bee biology; identifying basic anatomical structures of a bee and flower; honey production and hive products; pests and diseases (common names, causes and treatments); mite monitoring; queen rearing; identifying honey label errors; and identifying pheromone odors related to bees.

  1. Must perform and be able to document participation in six public service credits.
  2. Submit a log of colony management documenting continuous management activities for 12 successive months. The participant selects the format for his/her log.  Although there are numerous ways to document maintenance activities, the log needs to document specific information that includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Date and time of day
  • Weather conditions
  • What is blooming near the hive
  • Description of what is found: for example, brood pattern, bees bringing in pollen, and smell
  • Notes of actions taken: for example, mite counts, medications given, and feeding (what and how)
  • Notes about what needs to be checked, considered, or brought for the next visit
  • Notes of anything unusual or unexpected: for example, too many drones, aggressive bees, and so forth
  • Questions to consider, research or discuss with other beekeepers
  1.  Enter a honey show and produce a blue-ribbon quality (score 92 or above) in two different classes. Acceptable Honey Shows: State Fair (WV), Eastern Apical Society, or Fall Meeting (WV), or pre-approved shows.
              1. Wax
              2. Comb honey, frame of capped honey or crème honey
              3. Extracted honey
  2. Pollen
  3. Serve as an apprentice judge at a WVBA honey competition by shadowing a qualified but judge who is not participating in the competition.

MASTER LEVEL

  1. Five years of beekeeping experience with one year minimum as Certified Beekeeper.
  2. Maintain active membership in the WVBA since earning the Certified Level and    maintain a registered apiary in the state of residence at the time of testing.
  3. Pass a written test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.
  4. Pass a practical test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.

Advanced level testing will include all the previous level subjects with the addition of scientific names of pests/diseases and honey bee species; pollination; basic native bee information and identification; pesticides; identifying pests, parasites and pathogens including microscopic identification; reading pesticide labels and determining which is the safest to use around bees; identifying several beekeeping items; distinguishing between bees, wasps, hornets and Africanized bees; basic understanding of ripening, storage and harvesting of honey and bee products; and major WV nectar sources.  More emphasis will be placed on short essay answers.

  1. Six additional service credits within a three-year period for a total of twelve credits.
  2. Presentation of a talk on an approved topic. Presentation to the general assembly of   the WVBA at a fall or spring conference or at the Honey Bee Expo is preferred although a presentation in a breakout session will be accepted only if prior application and acceptance of the topic is obtained. 
  3. Judging of a WVBA honey competition. Judges may not have an entry in the competition.