We have entered a new era in beekeeping. Diseases and pests have made it undesirable for beekeepers to keep to themselves and remain isolated from others in their region. Working together to keep all of West Virginia’s honeybee colonies healthy is the only practical way we can ensure the health of our own colonies. To this end, it is the mission of the West Virginia Master Beekeeper Program to provide science-based education to our current beekeepers and to develop future stewards and ambassadors for honeybees and beekeeping.
The purpose of this program is to help the individual improve his or her skills and knowledge of beekeeping by testing on a continuous basis, and to increase the effectiveness of the WV Beekeepers Association (WVBA) in providing resources to both the general public and the beekeeping community. This three-tiered certification process is not a requirement for anyone to have honeybees in the state of West Virginia or any other state. The West Virginia Master Beekeeper Program is sponsored by the WVBA and the program director is appointed by the executive board of the WVBA.
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 honeybees for a minimum of 4 months to take the Apprentice level test.
Each level has a $5.00 fee for testing with a $3.00 fee for retesting.
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.
Credits can be no more than 2 years old and still count.
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.
Yes. Each exam will take you approximately 1 to 2 hours to complete.
Certification Levels and Requirements
Designed to give those just starting in beekeeping solid information and support, the primary goal is increasing retention of new beekeepers as they develop confidence in their ability to keep bees. The program seeks to meet these objectives by providing:
- Opportunities for ongoing education, training, and hands-on experience
- Coordination of instructors and mentors willing to share their knowledge and expertise through classes and with individual beekeepers
- Suggestions for public outreach events in meeting program education and service requirements
- Recommendations of resources, including print, Internet, video, and local beekeeping groups, for ongoing learning
- An objective means for an individual to evaluate his/her own progress and level of expertise
- 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.
- Be a current West Virginia Beekeepers Association (WVBA) member.
- Pass a written test which is given at one of the statewide conferences with a score of 80%.
- 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).