Field Experience Points (4)

Field ExperienceField experience is active, hands-on experience working with bees, hives, and beekeeping equipment. The student demonstrates the ability to perform specific hands-on manipulation activities on his or her own under the supervision of a mentor.

These activities are organized by beekeeping season and documented on the Field Experience Checklist. During each season, the student meets with a mentor at least once to work through the minimum hive activities listed on the checklist. The checklist may contain required discussion topics or optional, but suggested topics. If the student does not have prior experience, the mentor will demonstrate an activity and then the student will be expected to perform the activity independently.

One point is assigned to each season’s Field Experience Checklist. A total of 4 field experience points are necessary to meet the Field Experience requirement for the Apprentice Beekeeper certification. Students are encouraged to meet with their mentors more than once per season; repetition and the opportunity to ask questions and cover additional material reinforces learning and builds confidence.

The 4 completed Field Experience Checklists must be submitted with other completed materials when applying for certification. Copies of the Field Experience Checklists are included in this packet. The required activities per season are listed, as follows:

Spring

  • Smoker operation and use
  • Beekeeper behavior when approaching a colony
  • Tool identification and use
  • Recognizing drones, workers, and queen
  • Recognizing pollen, honey, and brood in comb
  • Basic hive evaluation
  • Feeding and/or recognizing starvation
  • Mite monitoring

Summer

  • Supering: when, how many, which type
  • Colony management during honey flow
  • Honey harvest
  • Extracting, bottling, and storing honey
  • Storing honey supers
  • Providing water for bees (discussion)
  • Queen excluders (discussion)
  • Nectar dearth and robbing (discussion)

Fall

  • Hive evaluation: queen, food stores, and disease
  • Continued mite monitoring with sticky boards, sugar roll
  • Entrance reducers and mouse guards
  • Feeding
  • Recognizing and addressing small and light colonies
  • Fall treatment options (discussion)
  • Nectar dearth and robbign (discussion)
  • Mean bees! (discussion)

Winter

  • Feeding and/or recognizing starvation (late winter)
  • Checking overwintering hive(s)
  • Learning about equipment: needs, terminology, sources