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.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE FIELD EXAM
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.'