Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture: Preliminary Examination

The Examination comprises a half hour written paper and a practical Apiary Examination on the material below...


Manipulation of a Colony of Honeybees

The student will be:

  • aware of the need for care when handling a colony of honeybees
  • aware of the reactions of honeybees to smoke
  • aware of the personal equipment needed to open a colony of honeybees
  • able to open a colony of honeybees and keep the colony under control
  • able to demonstrate the use of smoke
  • able to demonstrate the use of the hive tool
  • able to remove combs from the hive and identify worker, drone and queen cells or cups if present and to comment on the state of the combs
  • able to identify members of the three castes, identify brood at all stages
  • able to demonstrate the difference between drone, worker, and honey cappings
  • able to identify stored nectar, honey and pollen



The student will be:

  • able to name the parts of a modem beehive
  • aware of the concept of the bee space and its significance in the modern hive
  • able to assemble a frame and fit it with wax foundation
  • aware of the reasons for the use of wax foundation
  • aware of the various spacings of combs in the brood chamber and super for both foundation and drawn comb


Natural History of the Honeybee

The student will be:

  • able to give an elementary account of production of queens, workers and drones in the honeybee colony
  • aware of the existence of laying workers and drone laying queens
  • able to specify the periods spent by each caste in the four stages of its life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult)
  • able to give an elementary description of the function of the members of each caste if the life of the colony
  • Have an appreciation of wax production by the worker bee and the use of this wax by the bee
  • able to give a simple definition of nectar and describe how it is collected and brought back to the hive
  • able to name the main local flora from which honeybees gather pollen and nectar
  • able to give a simple description how nectar is converted into honey
  • aware of the use of nectar and honey in the life of the colony
  • aware of the collection of water and its uses in the colony
  • able to give a simple description of the collection of pollen and its importance in the life of the colony
  • able to describe the origins, collection, and use of propolis in the honeybee colony
  • able to give an elementary description of swarming in a honeybee colony
  • able to give an elementary description of the way in which the honeybee colony passes the winter period



The student will be:

  • able to give an elementary description of the siting of colonies
  • able to give an elementary description of the year's work in the apiary and the management of a colony throughout a season
  • able to describe how and when to feed bees and the preparation of syrup
  • aware of the need to add supers and the timing of the operations
  • aware of the use of the queen excluder
  • able to give an elementary account of one method of swarm control
  • able to describe how to take a honeybee swarm and how to hive it
  • aware of the condition of queenlessness
  • able to describe the signs of laying workers and a drone laying queen
  • aware of the dangers of robbing and how robbing can be avoided


Disease and Poisoning

The student will:

  • Since Varroa mites are reared in the brood comb.
  • Be able to indicate on the comb which cells are preferred by the mite for breeding.
  • Be able to state at least one approved treatment in the students own country.
  • Sunken, greasy, perforated cappings on worker brood may indicate the presence of AFB.
  • Be able to indicate which cappings might look suspect.
  • Be able to demonstrate, using a matchstick, how a field test for AFB could be done.
  • Be able to state where a comb sample containing the diseased brood should be sent for testing.
  • Unsealed brood cells containing larvae which do not conform to the shape, colour and segmented structure of healthy brood, could indicate EFB.
  • Be able to discern, if larvae in the comb have the proper “C” shape, colour and segmentation which healthy larvae exhibit.
  • Be able to state where a comb sample containing the diseased brood should be sent for testing.
  • be able to describe the appearance of healthy brood and how it differs from diseased brood or chilled brood
  • be aware of acarine, nosema and amoeba and their effect upon the colony
  • know how to obtain expert assistance if any disease or poisoning by toxic chemicals is suspected



The student will be:

  • able to describe the methods used to clear honeybees from supers
  • able to describe the process of the extraction of honey from supers
  • aware of the value of bees to farmers and growers and of the hiring of colonies for pollination services
  • able to describe a way in which comb can be stored to prevent wax moth damage
  • able to describe a way by which mice can be excluded from the hives in winter



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