The Apprentice Beekeeper is the first level of certification in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. This level is designed to provide solid information and support, with the goal of increasing retention of new beekeepers as they develop confidence in their ability to keep bees. The training, experience, and guidance provided at the Apprentice Beekeeper level provide the student with:
The knowledge and confidence to keep bees in Langstroth hives
Hands-on experience working with bees, including use of tools and equipment
Information about the costs and "how-to's" of obtaining bees to get started as a beekeeper
Opportunities for training and mentorship
Exposure to resources to improve skills and stay current in beekeeping
Apprentice Program Enrollment Process
Classes begin in January of each year. The first step is to put your name on the Waiting List. Each fall we send applications to everyone who is on the list. Once applications are received, we assign people a spot in the program based on their experience level and the availability of mentors in their area. Program fees are collected, and the registration is finalized.
Apprentice students are provided approximately 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.
Module 1: Honey bee biology
Module 2: Hives and equipment
Module 3: Working bees
Module 4: Seasonal colony management - spring and summer
Module 5: Pests - Varroa mite management and treatment options
Module 6: Pathogens
Module 7: Pollination, bee botany, and products of the hive
Module 8: Seasonal colony management: fall and winter
Module 9: EpiPen and Anaphylactic Shock training seminar
Optional bonus module: Native bee biology from the Oregon Bee Atlas Master Melittologist Program
We are currently using The Beekeeper's Handbook by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile, 5th edition. Each student is asked to obtain their own copy - it is widely available from online booksellers.
What if I have already earned a 'Getting Started with Bees' certificate?
If you have already earned a 'Getting Started with Bees' certificate, the only requirements you will have to complete as an Apprentice student are:
(6) additional Education Points
(4) examples of your colony log notes
(4) Field Worksheets signed off by your mentor
You do not have to repeat the class coursework or exam
Challenge to Apprentice Certification
Beekeepers with 5 years or more of current experience may challenge the Apprentice certification. This allows experienced beekeepers the opportunity to quickly move to the Journey level and/or mentor for the program.