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We finished our first year in the Master Beekeeping Program and I figured I would write about it to help anybody else who may be going through the program.
Here’s a few FAQs I’ve had over the past year:
- Is it hard?
- The first test is a very passable test. It requires basic bee biology knowledge, the ability to open hives and recognize what’s inside, knowledge of pests and diseases as well as treatments, and recognition of beekeeping equipment.
- Why would you do it?
- The program offers a relatively inexpensive way to hold yourself accountable to continue learning about honey bees. It’s been a great experience for us, and as natural educators, we found ourselves fulfilling the requirements for service hours and credits relatively easily (this isn’t required until after you’ve passed your first test as an Apprentice Level).
- The reading list is long – do I have to read it all?
- I get asked this a lot and I stand by the fact that if you purchased and read (for comprehension) Dewey Caron’s Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, you can get through the bulk of the first two years of tests. I would also advise you to watch the review sessions provided by the Texas Master Beekeeping Program and study up on the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s Guide for Integrated Pest Management as they have a ton of resources to help anybody become a better beekeeper.
- If I just study the review sessions, will I be okay?
- Honestly, maybe… but I wouldn’t recommend it as the test changes and I expect will get harder as the years go by.
Once you’ve passed the initial test, you’ll have to complete 5 service credits and the modules required by the TMBP. These credits are most easily earned talking to non-beekeeping group about bees.
General tips – get signatures as you go – collecting and finding signatures at the last minute is a royal pain. If you can start assembling your binder early and get some of the modules knocked out early, I think you’ll have a much more pleasant and stress-free experience after you pass your first level of testing.
We just passed the Advanced Level of the Texas Master Beekeeping Program and that means that we’ve got to do quite a bit more (double the service credits) this next year to qualify for the Master Level in addition to picking a Major. This should be fun – join us and keep learning about these amazing honey bees!