Certification Requirements for the Journey Beekeeper
To be certified as a Journey Beekeeper the participant must satisfy six (6) requirements:
1. Pass an open book written exam with a score of 90% or better.
The written exam is open book and not timed. The exam will contain true/false, multiple choice questions and essay questions. Exam content is divided among three areas: Biology, Practical beekeeping, and Contemporary Issues. There is no one text book for the Journey Beekeeper but several that are recommended reading.
Even though no one text book is the source for the exam questions, the recommended texts below will have the information to answer exam questions. Questions about contemporary issues, by virtue of their immediacy, will not necessarily be found in the suggested texts. University/government sites, journals and newsletters, and organizations listed in the additional resources provided to participants can provide information sources for answering questions about contemporary issues.
- Caron, D.M. 2013. Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. Wicwas Press.
- Sammataro, D., and A. Avitabile. 2011. The Beekeeper’s Handbook (fourth edition). Comstock Publishing Associates.
2. Complete a practical exam using a Langstroth hive with a score of 85% or better.
The practical exam consists of three sections: an open hive inspection, evaluation of jars of honey in terms of condition as well as proper labeling, and identification of pests, parasites, and pathogens and other causes of problems in a honey bee colony.
3. Engage in public service activities that earn 30 public service points and submit a worksheet detailing public service points earned.
Educating the general public as well as fellow beekeepers is a major component of the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. Public service is a key element of the Journey Beekeeper level certification. During the Journey Beekeeper program, participants demonstrate their knowledge and skills by giving back to the community and other beekeepers.
Public Service activities educate and serve others in a number of ways, and include talking about bees in schools, collecting swarms, writing articles, and organizing or staffing booths at public events. Entering products of the hive in honey shows and judging a honey show are other examples of public service. Service to the beekeeping community is also a key part of this program. For instance, a participant may earn points by becoming active on the board of a local or state bee association, mentoring new beekeepers, or giving a talk at a local bee club.
4. Submit responses to 12 Directed Studies
The completion of directed studies is another requirement for Journey Beekeeper level certification. The directed studies provide an opportunity to:
- Be introduced to the literature available on honey bees and beekeeping
- Increase confidence to research to find answers to questions independently
- Discern among sources of information in terms of quality and credibility
- Focus on information within a framework that can be used as a reference over time
- Respond with information on a specific topic in one’s own words
Directed studies are done on a “completed/not completed” basis according to the criteria provided. In the event that a given study is noted as “not completed,” the committee will provide guidance for completion. Additional information on directed studies will be provided upon enrollment.
5. Own and maintain a colony of honey bees under personal management for 3 successive years.
The ability to successfully manage a colony over 3 successive years is another requirement for certification as a Journey Beekeeper. This means that the participant is responsible for his/her personal hive(s) continuously over this period of time.
The committee recognizes that colonies are lost for many reasons and that there may be a hiatus in direct ownership (e.g., a colony dies at the end of winter or early spring and the participant has to wait until later in spring to purchase a package, nuc, or colony). A time lapse of personal management in this circumstance meets the requirement as long as the break in time is documented and appropriately managed. A break in personal management that exceeds a reasonable amount of time between the loss of a colony and the time it takes start another would not meet this requirement.
6. Submit a log of colony management documenting continuous management activities for 3 successive years.
Participants are required to maintain a log that covers 36 consecutive months (3 years) for the colony of bees under their personal management. Each visit to the hive is documented. Logs kept for the Apprentice Beekeeper level will be honored.
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 in the vicinity of 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
For the technologically inclined, participants may keep a log online with Hive Tracks (www.hivetracks.com). Records from Hive Tracks may be printed out and submitted with other completed materials when applying for Journey certification.