Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is beekeeping experience necessary to apply?
A: No. At the 'Getting Started with Bees' level, you don't even need to own a hive!
Q: Can minors participate in the program?
A: No, students must be 18 years or older to enroll.
Q: I have a top bar hive. Can I use this hive to work toward my certification requirements? Do you teach beekeeping in alternative hive styles?
A: The Apprentice Level of the OMB program teaches hive management using the Langstroth hive. While you may keep your own bees in any hive configuration (e.g., top bar, Warre, horizontal), specific management of these hives is not covered at the Apprentice level. Aspects of instruction such as Bee Biology and Colony Management are relevant no matter the style you use.
Q: Is there a fee?
A: Yes. Program fees are due before finalizing your enrollment. Fees vary depending on your level and include program materials, website access, mentorship (when applicable), and access to online classes. See each page for details.
Q: Do I have to start at the Apprentice level if I am an experienced beekeeper?
A: Yes, the levels are sequential except for beekeepers with 5 years' or more experience. The Apprentice Beekeeper certification is a prerequisite for acceptance into the Journey Beekeeper level of the program. For beekeepers with five years or more experience, we offer a challenge to the Apprentice level. This enables an experienced beekeeper to demonstrate their knowledge and proceed quickly to the Journey level. Please see our Apprentice Beekeeper page for more details.
Q: Is it necessary to achieve all certification levels in order to participate in the program?
A: No. It is up to you to decide how many certification levels you would like to pursue.
Q: How can I get started as an Apprentice Beekeeper?
A: If you have less than 2 years' experience, you can register for the "Getting Started with Bees" Certificate Program, which you can start at any time. For those with more experience, go to our Apprentice Beekeeper page and put your name on the Apprentice Waiting List. Each year in early fall we send applications to everyone on the waiting list. Once applications are received, we assign people a spot in the program based on the availability of mentors in their area. Then program fees are collected, and your registration is finalized. The Apprentice program begins in January of each year.
Q: Are the classes online?
A: 'Getting Started' and Apprentice students are provided 16 hours of professionally filmed, self-paced classroom training via Canvas, OSU's learning management platform. This means distance or scheduling conflicts do not affect the student's opportunity to participate in the classes. Additional monthly online discussion forums give students a chance to ask questions. In-person classes occasionally may be offered in some locations - schedules are communicated at the beginning of the year.
Q: There are dead bees in my hive! Do you test for pests and disease?
A: The OSU Honey Bee Lab can analyze your bees for Varroa mites, Nosema, and tracheal mites. They will need a sample of 300 bees (about 1/2 cup) to do the analysis. Collect live bees from the center of the brood nest in a jar, and place in the freezer to kill them. Do not collect this sample from dead bees you may find at the bottom of your hive. They must still be alive when collected. The sample can then be mailed to the following address: OSU Honey Bee Lab, OSU Horticulture, 2750 SW Campus Way - ALS 4017, Corvallis OR 97331. Please include your contact information, and a detailed description of the problems you are experiencing.