Master Level

The Master Level trains skilled Journeyman Beekeepers to serve as extension educators and representatives to the public for the Beekeeping community. The growing interest in beekeeping over the last few years has shown that it is particularly important that there is competent bee masters that will teach and mentor beginning beekeepers and represent beekeepers in the eye of the public. The Master Level Beekeeper are considered Ambassadors of the Master Beekeeping Program.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Completion of Journeyman Level Qualifications and Testing
  • Responsible for all previous requirements for testing in the Journeyman and Apprentice Levels.
  • Completion and Documentation for an additional 10 Public Service Credits
  • Completion and Documentation for 6 Majors
  • Hive registration with the state of Alabama.
  • Member of Alabama Beekeepers Association.

Objectives for Master Beekeeper Testing:

Bee Anatomy:

  • Know the previous Anatomy requirements from Apprentice and Journeyman levels.
  • Identify and Label with correct nomenclature the parts of the honey bee.
  • Describe the function of each part of the honey bee.
  • Explain and label the various systems of the honey bee.
    • Nervous System
    • Circulatory System
    • Digestive System
    • Respiratory System
  • Explain and identify pheromones and the effects in the hive.

Honey:

  • Understand and explain the process of how nectar becomes honey.
  • Describe when honey is ready and the importance of moisture content.
  • Describe how honey is judged in a Welsh Honey Show.
  • Explain how to test for proper moisture content in honey
  • Explain the process of harvesting and bottling honey
  • Define the following terms and explain their part in harvesting honey.
    • Fume Board
    • Extractor
    • Fluid Ounces
    • Queen Excluder
    • Decapper
    • Capping Wax
    • 200-600 Micron Filter
    • Bottling Tank
    • Hot knife
    • Etc.
  • Discuss the reason honey crystallizes.
  • Discuss the process of creamed honey.

Disease and Pest:

  • Identify and describe Diseases in the hive and suggest a treatment for the disease:
    • American Foulbrood
    • European Foulbrood
    • Nosema Apis
    • Nosema Ceranae
    • Tracheal Mite
    • Varroa Mite
    • Chalkbrood
    • Viruses—Acute Bee Paralysis Virus, Kashmir, Sacbrood, Deformed Wing, Lake Sinai
    • Chilled Brood
    • CCD
    • Pests—Ants, Small Hive Beetles, etc.

Queen Rearing: This is more extensive than the Journeyman Level.

  • Explain the process of how honey bees rear a queen.
  • Explain what qualities are important in a breeder queen.
  • Be able to discuss/ identify equipment used for queen rearing. (Chinese grafting tool, Queen cups, Roller Cages, Queen cages, etc.)
  • Define the following and how it relates to Queen Rearing. (Cell Builder, Finisher, Grafting, Royal Jelly, Drone Congregation Area, Notching, Cell Punch, etc.)
  • Discuss the queen’s reproductive system.  Include in this discussion specifically mating flight, number of drones needed, the queen’s actual anatomy, diploid and haploid eggs, etc. 
  • Know the requirements for queen rearing for Journeyman.

Colony Management:

  • If presented with a scenario, be prepared to discuss what management practices are needed.  Be able to identify if extra equipment is needed. As well as any advice for the best method to handle the scenario.
  • Be prepared to give advice for a variety of management mistakes.  These will be typical questions posed by beginners as well as seasoned beekeepers.  In your answers, be prepared to identify a disease, pest, equipment misuse, etc. 
  • Discuss common management problems. Be prepared to include disease and pests as well as queen problems in this discussion.
  • Know what is considered necessary to do in the apiary by season. Include the following:
    • Feeding
    • Treating
    • Inspecting
    • Increasing
    • Swarming

Alabama Law:

Know the specifics of the Alabama Law concerning registering hives, marking/ branding hives, and signage in the apiary.