Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture:
Intermediate Apiary Practical

Application form for 2017 is available here


Inspection of Apiary, Equipment and Honeybee Products

The candidate will be required to:

• Present his/her apiary, (normally expected to contain at least two hives), and the records maintained over at least three years, to the examiners for inspection.
• Present samples of his/her honey prepared for sale.

Demonstration of Practical Beekeeping

The candidate will be required to demonstrate:

• proficiency in any manipulation of honey bee colonies requested by the examiner,
• proficiency in the use of any of his/her equipment requested by the examiner,
• knowledge of the progress of each colony during the current season and to show apiary records kept over a period of at least three years,
• knowledge of the origin and age of the queen in each colony,
• knowledge of the existence of any disease in the colonies and to describe what action is being taken to remedy the problem,
• proficiency in taking samples of honey bees for the purpose of dispatch for disease diagnosis.

Oral Questioning

Natural History

The candidate will be able to:

• give an oral account of the production of swarm, supersedure and emergency queen cells and the condition of colonies in which each of these is produced,
• describe the signs in a colony of a drone laying queen and laying workers, and give an account of the circumstances in which each are produced,
• give an oral account of the seasonal variation of the population size of a honey colony and an explanation of such variations,
• give an oral account of the food required by the honey bee.

Bee Behaviour

The candidate will be able to give an oral account of:

• the organization of the honey bee colon,
• the mating behaviour of the honey bee queen and drone,
• the queen honey bee's egg-laying behaviour including the variation of numbers laid with changing circumstances and time of year,
• the defensive behaviour of the honey bee,
• the behaviour of the foraging honey bee and its work methods in the field,
• the collection of nectar and water and their use by the colony,
• the conversion of nectar to honey and the role of the honey bee in accomplishing this,
• the collection and storage of pollen by the honey bee colony,
• the collection and use of propolis by the honey bee colony;
• the conditions leading to swarming,
• the conditions leading to supersedure,
• the behaviour and requirements for survival of honey bee swarms,
• the honey bee colony in winter, its behaviour and requirements for survival.

Diseases, Pests and Pathogens

The candidate will be able to give an oral account of:

• the signs of American Foul Brood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB),
• the statutory requirements relating to the diseases of honey bees and their implementation in Ireland.
• the treatment of EFB and AFB including methods of destruction of colonies and sterilization of equipment,
• the signs of Chalk Brood and any recommended treatment,
• the signs of nosema and acarine disease and the methods of their treatment/prevention,
• description/recognition of the Varroa mite and how this should be dealt with,
• the currently advised methods of treatment of Varroa mites; consequences of treatment.
• description/recognition of the Small Hive Beetle and how this should be dealt with,
• the Bailey frame change to combat Nosema,
• the Shook swarm.

Apiary and Honeybee Management

The candidate will be able to discuss:

• his/her own methods of beekeeping,
• define the "bee space" and its influence on the design of beekeeping equipment,
• the various hives used in Ireland,
• the various types of frame used in Ireland,
• the use of wax foundation,
• the factors to be considered in the setting up of colonies in both home and out apiaries,
• the drifting of honey bees, the dangers caused and methods of apiary layout to minimise this problem,
• the year's work in the apiary and describe how this is dependent upon the annual colony cycle and the timing of local honey bee forage,
• feeding honeybees, including types of feeder, amounts fed, types of food and timing of feeding,
• the supering of honey bee colonies and the relationship of supering to swarm prevention,
• the use of the queen excluder and the types in general use,
• swarm prevention and a control method,
• a method of taking and hiving swarms of honey bees,
• a method of making nuclei and the various uses to which nuclei can be put,
• a method of uniting honey bee colonies and any precautions which need to be taken,
• a method of producing a replacement queen,
• a method of queen introduction, and the precautions to be taken,
• robbing, its prevention, its dangers and a methods of terminating it once it has started,
• the spring management of honey bee colonies,
• the summer management of honey bee colonies,
• a method used to "clear" bees from supers,
• methods of preparing colonies for the winter period,
• the use of mouse guards and describe the damage that mice can cause,
• the damage caused by the two species of wax moths,
• methods of storing comb to prevent wax moth damage.




Co. Waterford beginners course

Co. Waterford BKA will be holding their classes for beginners starting Tuesday 21st February at Coláiste Cathal Naofa. For more information and outline of course, click here

South Tipp Beginners' Course

South Tipp BKA are holding a beginners course in beekeeping starting Saturday 8th April. For more for information on registration and what will be covered, click here

Trees for bees

**ALL TREES ARE NOW ALLOCATED** Those of you who ordered tree saplings should have already received a confirmation email by now, if not, contact Eamon at his email address

Well Done Ryan!

A Junior member of the Lake County BKA, Ryan Nea, has made it to the All Ireland Science competition and came 2nd in his college with a device which alerts beekeepers when a hive is about to swarm.......Story and picture of the young chap is the LCBKA facebook page

Gorey BKA Beginners Course

Gorey BKA Beginners Course, run by Ben Harden NBD, starts on Tuesday 4th April and continues for 4 more Tuesdays, followed by practicals in the association apiary. Venue: The Teagasc Centre, Fort Road, Gorey. Time: 8pm. Duration: approx 1hr. Bee suits are available for the practicals if required. For further details contact the secretary Aine Roche at

Connemara BKA Beginners Course

The Connemara Beekeepers Association are holding their beginners course in beekeeping. The course will be run in the GRETB (VEC) building in Oughterard. It start on Tuesday, 21st Feb, at 7:30pm. for more info, or bookings, please contact Ken Figgis, our education officer. Email or phone 095 41092

Bee Research Project!

FIBKA are co operating with CIT to run a beehealth project to improve the genetic diversity of Irish honey bee stocks, funding needed either corporate or individual. Click here for more info!

Kilkenny Beginners Course!

It will run for the 4 Wednesday nights (15 Feb, 22 Feb, 1st March, 8 March) from 7.30 to 9.00 covering topics such as
Beekeeping Equipment, The occupants of the hive, The beekeeping year, honey harvesting and planting for bees and pollinators.

This will be followed a number of practical sessions during the rest of the year at our own Apiary and at other Apiaries where you will get first hand experience with colonies of Bees

Contact Jer Keohane for further details