2016 Master Beekeeper


 Field Exam Protocol

  • Candidates will be graded on their ease and familiarity with colony examination techniques and on their responses to questions asked by the Master Beekeeper examiner. A score of 85% or better is required to pass the field exam.
  • A candidate should come properly attired for colony inspection with his/her own veil, smoker, smoker fuel, lighter for the smoker and a new (unused) hive tool. Candidates who do not normally use smokers must nonetheless be familiar with their use.
  • The exam will consist of having the candidate open one or more beehives. Proper approach, method of opening, use of equipment, examination and closing of the hive is expected. Each colony examined should be evaluated by the participant. Questions regarding hive condition, pieces of equipment, proper use of hive accessories, and colony care will be asked by the examiner during the examination. The candidate will be expected to evaluate the condition of the colony, especially as to the amount and condition of brood, food, caste members and evidence of past and present colony conditions. In short, the candidate should confidently handle each colony examined and be able to determine hive and colony conditions.
  • Candidates should also expect to answer questions about normal colony inspection, care, and under what conditions and time of year certain manipulations (e.g. checking for queen cells, making divides, etc.) should be performed and how to complete such manipulations.
  • Use of gloves is discouraged except under special conditions, e.g. skin allergies, severe weather conditions, defensive colonies, etc. If you wish to wear gloves only new disposable gloves will be permitted in the apiary.



The best preparation for the field exam is practice, practice, practice. In your practicing, consider being a mentor—all clubs are looking for volunteers to help the 'newbees.' By helping others, you will perfect your own skills—what better way to show you know than to teach others?

Join an expert, such as an apiary inspector if your state/province has one as he/she inspects colonies. This will also provide an excellent opportunity to learn about diseases and pests (see study notes under the lab exam) while observing and learning from the expert. Ask the expert to critique your hive handling skills—a good way to learn is by listening to what others have to offer on how you do things. Demonstrate your hive opening and explanation technique with the expert and have him/her critique your inspection.

Volunteer for your bee day/open hive event (if your club or association has one) or start one at your own apiary. You will also be developing the ideals and objectives of an EAS Master Beekeeper by teaching and guiding others. Demonstrate your technique and have others do the same, comparing your inspection with that of others. Enjoy your bees and learn from them. Hive inspection is a two-way communication between you and your bees that are trying to tell you something. Come to the EAS Master Beekeeper Field Exam prepared to show you 'know your stuff.'

Study Guide for Written Exam

The written exam will be composed of a variety of questions, i.e. true-false, multiple choice, fill in the blank, short essays, etc. The questions total 100 points and a passing grade is 85. You will have up to 4 hours to take the exam.

Applicants will be expected to show a reasonable command of the English language. Clear, direct, precise, full-sentence answers are best where appropriate. Handwriting should be readable. Spelling mistakes will not be downgraded but the intended word/meaning should be clear.

The written exam is developed and graded by the Master Beekeeper Advisor with assistance of Master Beekeepers.

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EAS Master Beekeepers Certification Program
Reference List

Listed below are major references that will be used by the committee in preparing the written exam. We feel that the following books should be in the library of "Master Beekeepers" or they should have ready access since they are important and accurate references. This list, however, should not be considered complete. There are many other excellent written resources available to beekeepers.

Individuals preparing to take the exams are not expected to read all of the books listed here however, those wishing to taking the exam will find it helpful to have a working knowledge of the subject material represented by these texts.

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Study Guide for Laboratory Exam

In the laboratory examination, applicants will move from station to station where a variety of items, specimens and equipment associated with beekeeping will be displayed. Questions might include identification, context of use, relevant information about what is displayed (control for a disease, for example), and other pertinent information about the item. For example you might be asked what time of year a particular item would be used. Some stations may have only a photo or computer image. There is a four-hour time limit to take the laboratory exam. Passing grade is 85.

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