The Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations FIBKA

Finlay Foods - Bee Feed

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

Equipment

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

Beekeeping

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

Harvesting

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

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Preliminary

Although the following is a comprehensive outline of the syllabus, the student is also expected to be up to date with modern ideas on the honeybee, particularly where these ideas are dealt with in newer textbooks or in lectures that (s)he has attended.

Natural History of the Honeybee

The student will be able to:

  • describe the function of each caste in the life of the colony,
  • detect a drone laying queen and give a simple description of the causes for this type of queen failure,
  • detect laying workers and give an elementary description of the circumstances which allows them to occur in a colony,
  • give a simple description of the work of the worker honeybees including comb building and repair, feeding the brood and queen, defence, ventilation and temperature control,
  • give a simple description of the annual population cycle of the honeybee colony using a graph,
  • describe the influence of the local flora and weather on the variation in the size of the population of the colony,
  • give a simple description of queen substance and its influence on the production of queen cells,
  • give a simple description of food sharing in the colony.

Nectar and Honey

The student will be able to give:

  • an account of the way nectar is collected and conveyed back to the colony and its conversion to honey,
  • an account of the use of nectar, honey and water by the honeybee colony,
  • an account of how pollen is collected, carried and stored,
  • an account of the collection and use of propolis by the honeybee.

Honeybee Forage, Plants and Pollination

The student will be able to give:

  • an account of the main nectar and pollen producing plants of Ireland and their flowering periods,
  • an account of the honeybee as a pollinating insect and of its usefulness to farmers and growers

Diseases, Pests and Pathogens

The student will be able to give:

  • an account of the signs of Varroosis, how it spreads, methods of detection, monitoring and treatment,
  • an account of the signs of Small Hive Beetle infestation, how it spreads, methods of detection, monitoring and treatment,
  • an account of the diagnosis of American Foul Brood (AFB) and European Foul Brood (EFB) and a tabulation of the differences between the signs of these two diseases,
  • an account of the ways in which foul brood infections can spread from colony to colony,
  • an account of the action necessary to take when AFB or EFB is found, including treatments and sterilisation of equipment,
  • an account of the major provisions of the statutory regulations relating to Foul Brood, and their implementation in Ireland,
  • an account of the signs and treatment of chalkbrood disease,
  • an account of the signs of, and the recommended treatment for adult bee diseases Nosema and Acarine,
  • an account of colony starvation and possible remedial actions,
  • describe the Bailey frame change,
  • describe the Shook swarm,
  • an account of the expert services available to the beekeeper,

Note recommended answers on diseases should include causative agents, signs, symptoms, effect on colony, spread and treatment/prevention.

Apiary and Honeybee Management
The student will able to give:

  • describe one of the various types of hive at present in use in Ireland,
  • describe the various frames used in a hive with which the student is familiar,
  • define and describe the concept of the “bee space”,
  • describe the purpose of wax foundation within the moveable frame hive,
  • describe the various common methods of maintaining the spacing of frames in hives and give the measurements of two recognised spacings,
  • give a detailed account of how to commence beekeeping, including the acquisition of bees, sources of equipment, costs, and any precautions necessary when acquiring bees or equipment,
  • describe the criteria to be observed when moving colonies of bees from one place to another (including optimum distance, vibration, temperature, ventilation. water supply),
  • describe the factors to be considered when setting up an apiary,
  • give an account of the year’s work in the apiary,
  • describe the principles of feeding a colony of honeybees,
  • describe the most common types of feeder in use,
  • describe the principles of supering,
  • describe the importance of supering as a factor in swarm control,
  • give an account of the use of the queen excluder and describe the types in common use,
  • give a detailed account of the artificial swarm as a method of swarm control and prevention,
  • describe a method of taking and hiving a swarm,
  • describe in detail a method of making nuclei,
  • give an account of the various uses to which nuclei can be put,
  • give an account of a method of uniting colonies,
  • give an account of the methods of dealing with laying workers,
  • describe a simple method of rearing a replacement queen,
  • describe the symptoms of queenlessness and how this may be confirmed,
  • describe a method of queen introduction and the precautions to be taken,
  • describe the problem of robbing and methods used to avoid it, or to terminate it once it has started,
  • describe a method of clearing of bees from supers,
  • describe how to prepare colonies for the winter period,
  • describe the damage to colonies caused by mice and how to exclude them from the hives in winter,
  • describe how to provide a suitable water supply for bees within the apiary,
  • describe the principles of honey extractors, both tangential and radial,
  • describe methods of storing comb with particular reference to prevention of wax moth damage,
  • describe wax moth damage to stored comb,
  • describe small scale methods of recovering beeswax from both comb and cappings.

Honeybee Products and Their Preparation for Show and for Sale
The student will be able to:

  • give an account of the main requirements of the statutory regulations affecting the handling, preparation for sale, composition and labelling of packs of honey,
  • give an account of a method used to decap honey combs, and of separating the cappings from the honey,
  • give an account of the extraction of honey, including heather honey, from combs and the various types of extractor used,
  • give an account of the straining and settling of honey after extraction,
  • give an account of the storage of honey including the underlying principles of storage,
  • give an account of the preparation and bottling of extracted honey for sale,
  • give an account of the preparation of sections and cut comb honey for sale,
  • give an account of the bottling of chunk honey for sale,
  • give an account of the methods of recovering beeswax,
  • give an account of the uses for beeswax,
  • give an account of the uses of other bee products such as pollen, royal jelly, venom and propolis,
  • givean account of the preparation of honey for the show bench.
  • givean account of the preparation of beeswax for the show bench.

Note this syllabus is indicative not exhaustive (look on both scientific and practical for completeness)

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Intermediate-Practical

Although the following is a comprehensive outline of the syllabus, the student is also expected to be up to date with modern ideas on the honeybee, particularly where these ideas are dealt with in newer textbooks or in lectures that (s)he has attended.

Natural History of the Honeybee

The student will be able to:

  • describe the stages in the life cycle of the three castes and the average number of days for each stage of metamorphosis
  • describe the function of each caste in the life of the colony
  • give an elementary description of parthenogenesis in the honeybee
  • give a simple description of sexual reproduction in the honeybee, the aerial mating of the queen and the drone, and the multiple mating of the queen
  • give a simple description of the communication dances of the honeybee workers
  • give a simple description of queen substance and its influence on the production of queen cells
  • give a simple description of food sharing in the colony,

External Anatomy and Internal Biology

The student will be able to give:

  • an elementary description of the structure and segmentation of the exoskeleton
  • a detailed description of the external structure of the queen, worker and drone honeybee
  • an elementary description of structure and an elementary appreciation of the function of the appendages of the honeybee worker (the mouthparts, the antennae, the legs, the wings and the sting)
  • an elementary description of the general structure and function in the adult worker bee of the alimentary canal and the digestion of sugars and pollen
  • the excretory system, including the function of the malpighian tubules
  • the respiratory system and the interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • the exocrine glands of all three castes, but only the hypopharyngeal, mandibular glands, salivary glands, wax glands and Nasonov glands
  • the circulatory system, including the heart, dorsal and ventral diaphragms.

Note Simple labelled diagrams of all of the above are required.

Nectar and Honey

The student will be able to give:

  • an elementary account of the composition of nectar and its variations
  • an elementary account of the conversion of nectar to honey, including chemical changes of the basic sugars and the storage of honey by the bee, chemical equations are not necessary
  • the approximate percentages of the major constituents of a honey of average composition
  • an elementary description of the process of granulation of honey
  • an elementary description of the process of fermentation in honey
  • an elementary account of the importance of pollen in the nutrition of the honeybee

Honeybee Forage, Plants and Pollination

The student will be able to give:

  • an elementary account of the process of pollination of a flowering plant using labelled diagrams
  • an elementary account of the process of fertilisation of a flowering plant using labelled diagrams

Diseases, Pests and Pathogens

The student will be able to give:

  • an account of the signs of Varroosis, how it spreads, methods of detection, monitoring and treatment
  • an account of the signs of Small Hive Beetle infestation, how it spreads, methods of detection, monitoring and treatment
  • an account of the diagnosis of American Foul Brood (AFB) and European Foul Brood(EFB) and a tabulation of the differences between the signs of these two diseases
  • an account of the ways in which foul brood infections can spread from colony to colony
  • an account of the action necessary to take when AFB or EFB is found, including treatments and sterilisation of equipment
  • an account of the major provisions of the statutory regulations relating to Foul Brood, and their implementation in Ireland
  • an account of the signs and treatment of chalkbrood disease
  • an account of the signs of, and the recommended treatment for adult bee diseases Nosema and Acarine
  • an account of colony starvation and possible remedial actions
  • describe the Bailey frame change
  • describe the Shook swarm
  • an account of the expert services available to the beekeeper

Note recommended answers on diseases should include causative agents, signs, symptoms, effect on colony, spread and treatment/prevention.

Honeybee Products and Their Preparation for Show and for Sale

The student will be able to:

  • give the approximate composition of an average honey
  • give an account of the properties of honey including specific gravity, viscosity, hydroscopicity and reactions to heat
  • give a description of the main constituents and physical properties of beeswax
  • give an account of the uses for, and marketing of, beeswax
  • give an account of the use of other bee products such as pollen, royal jelly, venom and propolis
  • give an account of the preparation of bee products for the show bench

Note this syllabus is indicative not exhaustive (look on both scientific and practical for completeness)

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Intermediate-Scientific

Application form for 2018 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 fully functioning strong colonies), 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 colony,
  • 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.

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Intermediate-Apiary-Practical

Senior apiary practical application form for 2018 is available here

Beemaster application form for 2018 is available here

Inspection of Apiary, Equipment and Honeybee Products

The candidate will be required to:

  • present his/her apiary, or apiaries and the records maintained over at least five years, to the examiners for inspection (a minimum of five full stocks of honeybees will be required); the candidate must also show proof of having exhibited at honey shows
  • have spare equipment available for inspection;
  • have combs not in use available for inspection and demonstrate methods and place of storage;
  • Show how combs are stored to keep them free of vermin, dust, dirt, and absorption of contaminants, e.g. storage in a garage near paint or oils or solvents.
  • Show how wax foundation is stored to keep it fresh and free of contaminants.
  • have the equipment used for the recovery of beeswax available for inspection;
  • have the apparatus used for queen rearing available for inspection and show proof of queen rearing;
  • have samples of his/her honey bottled ready for sale;
  • have samples of his/her beeswax ready for sale.

Honey Processing

  • have extracting and honey handling equipment available for inspection;
  • demonstrate that the place where extracting and honey handling is carried out complies with the current legal requirements for food processing and packing;
  • Have vermin control in operation.
  • Water supply used for processing equipment should comply with potable quality.
  • Show what procedures are used to prepare jars for bottling.
  • Where a domestic kitchen is used for processing, show how it might be prepared beforehand, e.g. surface cleaning, removing possible contaminants, laundry, pets etc.
  • Where a honey processing building is used, show how it can be wiped clean, covered light bulbs, equipment cleaned, potable water supply, vermin control, honey stored while awaiting processing.
  • Show how the cleaned extractor, settling tanks, buckets and associated equipment is stored, when processing is complete, e.g. dust covers and outlet valves bagged over (sandwich bag).
  • Show samples of candidates own honey.
  • Show samples of candidates label.

NB This new section “Honey Processing” will be a mandatory must pass to pass the exam. It will have 20 marks allocated to it. This means that the candidate must achieve 70% or 14 marks in this section. If the candidate scores 13 or less it is a fail irrespective of what total mark is achieved.

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 deal with it;
  • proficiency in methods of selective queen rearing;
  • proficiency in the clipping and marking of queen honey bees;
  • proficiency in taking samples of honey bees for the purpose of dispatch for disease diagnosis.

 

Natural History

The candidate will be able to:

  • give an oral account of the life cycle of the honey bee, including timing of the main stages.,
  • give an oral account of the production of the sexes and the two castes;
  • 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 he able to give an oral account of:

  • the function and behaviour of the worker honey bee throughout its life including types of work done, duration of work periods under normal circumstances and variation in behaviour due to seasonal changes and the state of the colony;
  • the organization of the honey bee colony;
  • 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 methods of communication used by the honey bee including food sharing, dancing, scenting and vibration;
  • the defensive behaviour of the honey bee;
  • the behaviour of the foraging honey bee and its work methods in the field, including orientation;
  • the collection of nectar and water and their use by the colony;
  • the interrelationship of nectar, honey and water in the honey bee 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 production of beeswax, the initiation of comb building and the construction of comb;
  • the honey bee colony in winter, its behaviour and requirements for survival.

 

Honeybee Forage, Plants and Pollination

The candidate will be able to discuss:

  • the species, and the flowering times, of nectar and pollen producing plants of importance to the honey bee in Ireland and particularly those in his/ her own locality;
  • the effects of weather conditions on nectar secretion;
  • an outline of the problems in extraction of honey, including Brassica (rape, mustard etc.) and heather honeys;
  • the origin of honeydew and its appearance and effect upon the resulting honey;
  • the pollination of flowering plants and give an oral account of the use of honey bee colonies in the pollination of seed and fruit crops;
  • the floral sources of undesirable nectar and its effect on the bee and on the honey produced.

 

Diseases, Pests and Poisoning

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 and Sac Brood and any recommended treatment;
  • the signs of all adult honey bee diseases found in Ireland and the methods of their treatment;
  • the signs of poisoning by natural substances, pesticides and herbicides;
  • the crops most likely to be sprayed causing damage to honey bee colonies;
  • the methods that can be used by the beekeeper to diminish the problem of spray poisoning of honey bee colonies;
  • the action to be taken when spray damage is suspected;
  • description/recognition of the Varroa mite and how it should be dealt with;
  • description/recognition of the Small Hive Beetle and how it should be dealt with
  • the currently advised methods of detection and treatment of Varroa mites; consequences of treatment.
  • be able to show a record of all treatment purchases,
  • be able to show a record of all treatments applied to colonies,
  • be able to show how out of date or unused parts of treatments are dealt with.

 

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 and its home production;
  • methods of fitting frames with wax foundation, including wiring and embedding;
  • the various methods of spacing frames in hives, give the usual dimensions of these spacings and the advantages and disadvantages of varying the spacing;
  • how to begin beekeeping, including the acquisition of bees, sources of equipment and costs, and any precautions necessary;
  • the factors to be considered in the setting up of colonies in both home and out apiaries;
  • the criteria used in the selection of out apiary sites;
  • 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 preparation and use of pollen substitutes and supplements;
  • 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 control methods;
  • methods of taking and hiving swarms of honey bees;
  • methods of making nuclei and the various uses to which nuclei can be put;
  • means of building swarms and nuclei into colonies for honey production;
  • methods of uniting honey bee colonies and any precautions which need to be taken;
  • methods of queen rearing;
  • methods of queen introduction, the precautions to be taken and the attendant difficulties in relation to time of year, colony conditions and strain of honey bee;
  • robbing in its various forms, its prevention, dangers and methods of termination once it has started;
  • the spring management of honey bee colonies;
  • the special problems that oilseed rape poses in relation to management, extraction of the crop, carry over of honey in combs and wintering of colonies;
  • the assessment of the quality of a honey bee colony for honey production:
  • methods of marking and clipping queens, and the value of these practices;
  • the summer management of honey bee colonies;
  • the management needed to cope with different districts, weather conditions and the timing of flowering of forage plants;
  • management of colonies for the production of comb honey, sections and cut comb;
  • methods of moving colonies and the difficulties and dangers involved;
  • management of colonies used for migratory beekeeping for both honey production and pollination services;
  • methods used to “clear” bees from supers;
  • methods of preparing colonies for the winter period;
  • the use of mouse and other predator guards and describe the damage these pests can cause;
  • the damage caused by the two species of wax moths;
  • methods of storing comb to prevent wax moth damage;
  • methods of fumigation of comb and equipment, and general maintenance and preservation of hives;
  • the effect of stings on humans and any first aid treatment which can he applied.

 

Honeybee Products

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

  • the main requirements of the statutory regulations affecting the handling, preparation for sale, composition of honey, labelling and weight of packs of honey;
  • methods of decapping honeycombs and separating the cappings from the honey;
  • methods of extracting honey, including heather honey, from combs and the types of extractors used;
  • methods of straining and settling honey after extraction;
  • the conditions needed for the storage of honey for future use;
  • the preparation and bottling of extracted honey for sale (liquid, creamed and granulated), the equipment used and the temperatures which are required;
  • the preparation of sections and cut comb honey for sale;
  • the avoidance and remedies for the problems of high water content, frosting, fermentation and coarse crystallization of honey;
  • the methods of recovering beeswax;
  • the uses and marketing of beeswax;
  • other honey bee products such as pollen, royal jelly and propolis;
  • the preparation of honey bee products for the show bench.

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Apiary Practical Senior & Beemasters Examination

Microscopy Dissection and Pollen Analysis

Candidates will be required to discuss and demonstrate:
The construction, components and setting up of:

  • A stereo dissecting microscope
  • A compound microscope
  • The calibration of an eyepiece graticule. The candidate must be able to measure a microscopic object.
  • The examination of a sample of bees for Acarine (Acarapis Woodii)
  • The process of making slides for:
  • Pollen analysis
  • The detection of:
  • Nosema and Amoeba
  • Foul brood bacterial diseases (AFB and EFB)
  • The discussion will include the reason why a particular magnification is required for each examination.
  • The significance of what is apparent under the microscope.
  • The statistical significance of the sample size, and the significance of confidence limits.
  • Discuss the relevant licensed treatments for all the diseases examined.
  • The preparation of honey bee parts for microscopical examination.
  • The appearance and signs of Parasitic Mite Syndrome in a brood frame.
  • The appearance and signs of all brood disorders.

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Senior Examination Microscopy

Although the following is a comprehensive outline of the syllabus, the student is also expected to be up to date with modern research on the honeybee, particularly where this research is dealt with in newer textbooks or in lectures that (s)he has attended.
Note this syllabus is indicative not exhaustive (look on both scientific and practical for completeness)

Natural History

The student will be able to:

  • describe the signs and the causes of a “drone laying queen” in a colony
  • describe the signs of laying workers in a colony and give an account of the circumstance in which they are produced and the pheromones involved

Bee Behaviour

The student will be able to give a detailed account of:

  • the conditions leading to swarming
  • the conditions leading to supersedure
  • the student will be able to give
  • an illustrated description of the shape, structure and colour of pollen grains with reference to their diversity of shape and size as an aid to identification
  • a detailed account of the use of honeybees in orchards and fields of seed crops with particular reference to honeybee behaviour

Disease, Pests and Poisoning

The student will be able to give:

  • a detailed account of viruses and their detection
  • a detailed account of the life cycle of the Varroa mite, its detection and treatment
  • a detailed account of the life cycle of the Small Hive Beetle and Asian Hornet, its detection and treatment
  • a detailed account of the signs and symptoms of American Foul Brood (AFB) and European Foul Brood (EFB)
  • a detailed account of the development of AFB and EFB within the colony
  • an outline account of the life cycle of the causative organisms of AFB and EFB and the development within the larva
  • a detailed account of the ways in which AFB and EFB are spread
  • a detailed account of the statutory requirements relating to honeybee pests and diseases and their implementation in Ireland
  • a detailed account of the treatment of AFB and EFB including methods of destruction of colonies and sterilisation of equipment
  • an outline account of the signs and symptoms of varroosis and methods of detection, treatment and any subsequent problems that might arise
  • a detailed account of Addled Brood, Chalk Brood, Sac Brood and Stone Brood; their causes, signs and symptoms and recommended treatment
  • a detailed account of the signs and symptoms (if any) of all adult honeybee diseases found in Ireland
  • an outline account of the life cycle of the causative organisms of adult honeybee diseases
  • a detailed account of the various treatments for adult bee diseases
  • a detailed account of the laboratory diagnosis of Acarine, Nosema and Amoeba disease
  • an outline account of the life cycle of braula coeca and its effect upon the colony
  • an outline account of the signs and symptoms of poisoning by natural substances, pesticides and herbicides
  • a list of crops most likely to be sprayed thereby causing damage to honeybee colonies
  • examples of methods of spraying and the sprays which are likely to be least detrimental to honeybee colonies, a detailed account of the methods which can be used by the beekeeper to diminish the problem of spray poisoning
  • an account of the action to be taken when spray damage is suspected

Historical Aspects of Beekeeping

The student will be able to give a detailed account of:

  • the history of bee keeping in Ireland and of leading contributors to the knowledge of honeybee and of bee keeping practices
  • bee keeping methods of the past and modern developments from these
  • the evolution of the moveable from hives in Ireland and their frames and components
  • the discoveries of some the more famous beekeepers outside of Ireland such as Bro Adam, Huber, von Frisch, Langstroth etc.

Apiary and Honeybee Management

The student will be able to:

  • give a description of the various hives in use in Ireland
  • give the main features in their construction and the principles which govern their design
  • describe and give the measurements of various types of frame used in Ireland today
  • define and describe the concept of “the bee space”
  • give a detailed account of the use of wax foundation and its manufacture both commercially and by home production
  • describe methods of fitting frames with wax foundation including wiring and embedding
  • give a detailed account of the various methods of spacing frames in hives
  • give the usual dimensions for the spacing of frames, and the advantages and disadvantages of varying the spacing
  • give a detailed account of how to begin beekeeping, including the acquisition of bees, sources of equipment and costs, and any precautions necessary particularly in suburban areas
  • give a detailed account of good apiary work practice and any precautions that must be taken in accordance with the Health and Safety Act
  • give a detailed account of the setting up and management throughout the season of a observation hive and the various uses to which observation hives can be put
  • describe in detail the factors to be considered in the sitting of colonies in both home apiaries and out apiaries, describe in detail the criteria used in the selection of out apiaries
  • give a detailed account of drifting of honeybees
  • the dangers caused and methods of apiary layout to minimise this problem
  • give a detailed account of the year’s work in the apiary and describe how this is dependent upon the annual colony cycle and the timing of local bee forage
  • give a detailed account of the principles involved in feeding bees, including types of feeder, amounts of food, types of food and timing of feeding
  • give a detailed account of the nutritional value of honey and of pollen to the honeybee colony
  • give an outline account of the use of pollen substitutes
  • give a detailed account of the principles of supering honeybee colonies, and the relationship of supering to swarm control
  • give a detailed account of the use of the queen excluder and the types in general use
  • give a detailed account of the various methods of swarm control used in Ireland in both small and large scale beekeeping enterprises
  • give a detailed account of methods of taking and hiving swarms of honeybees
  • give a detailed account of methods of making nuclei and the various uses to which nuclei can be put
  • give a detailed account of how swarms and nuclei are built up into colonies for honey production
  • give a detailed account of the various methods of uniting colonies of honeybees, of the underlying principles of these methods and the precautions to be taken
  • give a detailed account of the various methods of queen rearing
  • give the principles of the selection of breeder queens
  • give an outline account of the methods of instrumental insemination of queen honeybees and the use of the technique in honeybee breeding
  • give a detailed account of the methods of queen introduction; the principles underlying the processes involved; the precautions to be taken; and the attendant difficulties in relation to different strains of bee and colony condition
  • give a detailed account of robbing in its various forms, its prevention, dangers, and methods of termination once it has started
  • give a detailed account of spring management of colonies
  • give a detailed account of the assessment of the quality of a colony for honey production
  • give a detailed account of the methods of marking queens and the value of the practice
  • give a detailed account of the methods of clipping queens and the value of the practice
  • give a detailed account of summer management including the control and prevention swarming
  • give a detailed account of the management needed to cope with different districts, weather conditions and the timing of flowering of forage plants
  • give a detailed account of the management of colonies for the production of comb honey, sections, cut comb and heather honey
  • give a detailed account of methods of moving colonies and the difficulties and dangers involved
  • give a detailed account of the management of colonies used for migratory beekeeping for both honey production and pollination services
  • give a detailed account of the various methods used to “clear” bees from supers
  • give a detailed account of the preparation of colonies for the winter period and the principles underlying the preparations
  • give a detailed account of methods of excluding mice from colonies and of the damage they can cause
  • give a detailed account of woodpecker damage to hives and methods of prevention
  • give a detailed account of wax moth damage and of the life cycle of both Lesser and Greater Wax Moths (Achroia Grisella and Galleria Mellonella)
  • give a detailed account of the proper storage of comb including fumigation and methods of preventing wax moth damage

Honeybee Products

The student will be able to:

  • give a detailed account of the main requirements of the statutory regulations affecting handling, preparation for sale, composition, labelling, and weight of packs of honey
  • give a detailed account of the various methods used to decap honey combs, and of separating the cappings from the honey
  • give a detailed account of the extraction of honey, including heather honey, from comb and the various types of extractor used
  • give a detailed account of the straining and settling of honey after extraction
  • give a detailed account of the storage of honey including the underlying principles of storage
  • give a detailed account of the preparation and bottling of extracted honey (liquid, creamed or granulated) for sale
  • give a detailed account of sieving, straining and filtration of honey for sale
  • give a detailed account of the preparation of sections and cut comb honey for sale
  • give a detailed account of the bottling of chunk honey for sale
  • give a detailed account of the process of granulation in honey including its cause, initiation, speed, texture and size of crystal
  • give a detailed account of fermentation in honey, approximate results which would be obtained from an analysis of a typical sample of honey and an outline account of the range of variations of the main constituents
  • give a detailed account of the properties of honey including specific gravity, viscosity hydroscopicity and reactions to heat
  • give a detailed account of the methods of recovering beeswax, a description of the main constituents and physical properties of beeswax
  • give a detailed account of the uses for, and marketing of, beeswax
  • give a detailed account of the use of other bee products such as pollen, royal jelly, venom, and propolis
  • give a detailed account of the preparation of bee products for the show bench.

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Senior Practical written Syllabus for Examination 2017

Although the following is a comprehensive outline of the syllabus, the student is also expected to be up to date with modern research on the honeybee, particularly where this research is dealt with in newer textbooks or in lectures that (s)he has attended.
Note this syllabus is indicative not exhaustive (look on both scientific and practical for completeness)

Natural History

The student will be able to:

  • give a detailed account of sex determination in the honeybee
  • give a detailed account of the effect of feeding on caste determination in females of the honeybee
  • give an outline account of the discussion regarding the differences between royal jelly and brood food
  • give a detailed account of the production of swarm, supersedure and emergency queen cells and the influence of “queen substance” on the production of these cells
  • describe the signs and the causes of a “drone laying queen” in a colony
  • describe the signs of laying workers in a colony and give an account of the circumstance in which they are produced and the pheromones involved
  • give an outline account of the physiological differences between laying and normal workers
  • illustrate and describe the structure of the egg of the honeybee
  • illustrate and describe the development of the embryo within the egg and the hatching of the larva
  • illustrate and describe the external and internal anatomy of the honeybee larva
  • give a detailed account of the metamorphosis of the honeybee larva
  • give an outline account of ecdysis (moulting)
  • give an outline account of larval defecation and cocoon spinning
  • illustrate and describe the external anatomy of the propupa and its change to the pupa
  • give an outline account of the change from pupa to imago
  • give an outline account of the structure and main constituents of the cuticle
  • give an outline account of the invagination of the cuticle within the body of the honeybee to form linings such as those of the gut and trachea
  • give a detailed description of the external anatomy of all castes of the honeybee and tabulate the differences between them
  • give a detailed account of the function of all the appendages of the honeybee such as wings, legs, antennae, sting, mouth parts and hairs, give a detailed account of the life histories of one selected species of each of the following: solitary bee, social bee (other than Apis mellifera), solitary wasp, social wasp, found in Ireland.

Internal Honeybee Biology and Anatomy

The student will be able to describe in detail and illustrate, referring to histological features where appropriate:

  • the alimentary canal, including digestion, assimilation, and the production of enzymes
  • the excretory system, and substances excreted
  • the respiratory system, including muscular ventilation of the main trunks and diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • the circulatory system, including the heart, dorsal and ventral diaphragms
  • the composition and function of the blood of the honeybee
  • the exocrine glands and their functions, particularly the hypopharyngeal glands and changes in their function, the mandibular glands and their secretions, the wax glands
  • wax production, the Nasonov gland and sting glands
  • the nervous system including the sense receptors
  • the fat body including its storage of metabolites
  • the reproductive system of queen and drone.

The student will be able to give an outline account of:

  • glycolysis and energy production
  • the muscular functions in relation to respiration and flight
  • the endocrine glands
  • sperm and egg production

Genetics and Evolution

The student will be able to give an outline account of the various races and strains of Apis mellifera commonly found in Europe and will be able to give a description of their appearance and behavioural characteristics and the evolution of the honeybee as a social insect. The student will be familiar with Mendelian genetics, chromosomes, meiosis and mitosis, inheritance in the honeybee, the genetic basis of sex determination including parthenogenesis and dominant/recessive alleles.

Bee Behaviour

The student will be able to give a detailed account of:

  • the function and behaviour of the worker honeybee throughout its life including types of work done, duration of work periods under normal circumstances and variations in behaviour due to seasonal changes and the state of the colony
  • the mating behaviour of the honeybee queen and drone including an account of the pheromones involved
  • the queen honeybee’s egg laying behaviour including the variation of numbers laid with changing circumstances and time of year
  • the seasonal variation in the population size of a honeybee colony and an explanation of such variations
  • the organisation of the honeybee colony
  • the methods of communication used by the honeybee including food sharing, dancing, scenting and vibration, the behaviour of the foraging bee and its work methods in the field, including orientation, the behaviour of worker bees towards intruders and the theories advanced to describe the means by which colonies recognise intruders
  • the collection of nectar and water and their use by the colony
  • the inter relationship of nectar, honey and water in the honeybee colony
  • the conversion of nectar to honey including the inversion of sucrose in, and the evaporation of water from nectar and the role of the honeybee in accomplishing these changes
  • the collection and storage of pollen by the honeybee colony
  • the collection and use of propolis by the honeybee colony
  • the conditions leading to swarming
  • the conditions leading to supersedure
  • the behaviour of swarms and the method of selection by the swarm of a site for a new home
  • the initiation of comb building and of the construction of comb
  • the colony in winter, with special reference to ventilation, humidity and temperature control
  • Honeybee Forage Plants and Pollination

The student will be able to give:

  • a list of the major nectar and pollen producing flowers of Ireland and their flowering periods
  • a detailed account of the wild and cultivated nectar and pollen producing flowers of his own locality
  • a list of floral sources of undesirable nectar and a brief description of the characteristics of these nectars
  • an illustrated description of the floral structure and mechanisms of the following nectar and pollen producing flowers: clover, apple, mustard, ling, lime and dandelion
  • an illustrated description of extra floral nectaries
  • an illustrated description of the shape, structure and colour of pollen grains with reference to their diversity of shape and size as an aid to identification
  • an outline account of the process of pollination and fertilisation of flowering plants
  • an outline account of the factors affecting nectar secretion and variations in its composition in different flower species and differing weather conditions
  • an outline account of the main constituents of honeydew and its origins

Disease, Pests and Poisoning

The student will be able to give:

  • a detailed account of viruses and their detection
  • a detailed account of the life cycle of the Varroa mite, its detection and treatment
  • a detailed account of the life cycle of the Small Hive Beetle and Asian Hornet, its detection and treatment
  • a detailed account of the signs and symptoms of American Foul Brood (AFB) and European Foul Brood (EFB)
  • a detailed account of the development of AFB and EFB within the colony
  • an outline account of the life cycle of the causative organisms of AFB and EFB and the development within the larva
  • a detailed account of the ways in which AFB and EFB are spread
  • a detailed account of the statutory requirements relating to honeybee pests and diseases and their implementation in Ireland
  • a detailed account of the treatment of AFB and EFB including methods of destruction of colonies and sterilisation of equipment
  • an outline account of the signs and symptoms of varroasis and methods of detection, treatment and any subsequent problems that might arise
  • a detailed account of Addled Brood, Chalk Brood, Sac Brood and Stone Brood; their causes, signs and symptoms and recommended treatment
  • a detailed account of the signs and symptoms (if any) of all adult honeybee diseases found in Ireland
  • an outline account of the life cycle of the causative organisms of adult honeybee diseases
  • a detailed account of the various treatments for adult bee diseases
  • a detailed account of the laboratory diagnosis of Acarine, Nosema and Amoeba disease
  • an outline account of the life cycle of braula coeca and its effect upon the colony
  • an outline account of the signs and symptoms of poisoning by natural substances, pesticides and herbicides
  • a list of crops most likely to be sprayed thereby causing damage to honeybee colonies
  • examples of methods of spraying and the sprays which are likely to be least detrimental to honeybee colonies, a detailed account of the methods which can be used by the beekeeper to diminish the problem of spray poisoning
  • an account of the action to be taken when spray damage is suspected
  • give a detailed account of wax moth damage and of the life cycle of both Lesser and Greater Wax Moths (Achroia Grisella and Galleria Mellonella)

Honeybee Products

The student will be able to:

  • give a detailed account of fermentation in honey, approximate results which would be obtained from an analysis of a typical sample of honey and an outline account of the range of variations of the main constituents
  • give a detailed account of the properties of honey including specific gravity, viscosity hydroscopicity and reactions to heat,

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Syllabus of Examination for Proficiency in Apiculture- Senior Scientific Written

Requirements to enter Honey Judge Apprenticeship/Education system.

  • A completed Application Form and fee shall have been received by the Education Officer by the February 1st of the year in which the candidate wishes to apply to enter the examination process leading to Honey Judge Certificate.
  • The examination process is open to those who hold the Intermediate and/or Practical Beemaster’s certificates as a minimum.
  • The Candidate must produce written evidence (3 hard copies must be with the Education Officer in good time and no later than March 1st) of being a successful exhibitor and must give a list of shows, with full details of classes together with copies of prize cards, in which he or she has won prizes; the candidate must have obtained a minimum of 200 points spread over a minimum of four years at honey shows (with a minimum of 100 entries in the show) in a wide variety of open classes at County or National level (the points to be calculated as follows: 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes = 6, 5 and 4 points respectively; V.H.C., H.C. and Commended = 3, 2 and 1 point respectively. A weighting will be given to cards in classes with higher entries).
  • Evidence must also be submitted (again 3 copies) that the Candidate has served as a judge’s steward a minimum of four times under FIBKA show judges at County or National shows, including at least one occasion at the Irish National Honey Show.
  • If all of the above conditions are met and the Application form is in order then the candidate is issued with a Record book. This outlines the extra requirements and time schedule that is to be followed before the Final assessment can be undertaken.
  • The final examination is a combined oral and practical test by two honey judges and is normally held during the week of the national honey show and will last for approximately two hours. A successful Candidate shall be known as a FIBKA Honey Judge.

The Final Examination
When all of the conditions as set out in the Record book are met the candidate will be allowed to sit the final examination.

The Candidate shall bring everything to the Examination necessary to allow the proper adjudication of any class in the show. The Candidate shall bring samples of liquid, creamed, granulated and cut comb honey, beeswax, mead and a comb suitable for extraction. These will be prepared as for exhibition and each shall be accompanied by a short written statement setting out the Candidate’s opinion, as if he/she was judging them, of their good and bad points. A copy of the written statement to be presented to each Examiner. Faulty preparation of the samples shall count against the Candidate.

Not less than four samples from a variety of classes shall be provided by the Examiners for the Candidate’s consideration. The Candidate shall judge these samples, identifying the first, second and third in order of merit.

The Examiners
The Final Examination shall be conducted by two Examiners who will consider:

  • The Candidate’s samples and comments.
  • The Candidate’s approach to judging (equipment, study of schedule etc.)
  • Examination and comments by the Candidate on the samples provided by the Examiners.
  • Judging by the Candidate of classes selected by the Examiners from the show benches (Test of method, orderliness and decision).
  • General questioning of the Candidates on any part of the syllabus.
  • The Candidate must pass in each of these sections to be awarded a certificate

Syllabus

Equipment
The Candidate shall provide him/herself with the following equipment:

  • a set of standard grading glasses;
  • a hand towel (linen)
  • a section template or 6 inch rule;
  • a tape measure at least 72 inches long, for measuring the size of the base of displays;
  • a knife, similar to a honey extracting knife or carving knife for cutting the cakes;
  • a pocket magnifying glass;
  • a note book, pencil and ball pen;
  • a torch (with spare bulb and batteries);
  • a minimum of six glasses and honey tasting rods and two honey jars or tumblers;
  • a white coat and white hat;
  • a corkscrew;
  • a penknife;
  • scissors;
  • a box of matches for lighting candles;
  • a damp cloth in a plastic bag for wiping sticky hands;
  • an apple, dry biscuit or other suitable means of refreshing the palate;
  • tissues;
  • the show schedule;
  • a set of scales to check weights when a particular weight is specified in the show schedule

The Show Secretary
He/she shall indicate where a supply of water may be obtained. The show Secretary shall give details of duplicate entries where applicable.

General Information
The Candidate shall be required to:

  • give an account of the composition of nectar and its variations;
  • give an account of the conversion of nectar to honey, including chemical changes of the basic sugars and the storage of honey by the bee;
  • give the approximate percentages of the major constituents of a honey of average composition;
  • describe and discuss the variations of honey deriving from plant, soil and climatic differences;
  • give the definitions of viscosity, density and specific gravity;
  • give an account of the production of beeswax by the honeybee and the conditions, nutritional and physical, which are necessary;
  • describe and discuss the samples he/she has brought;
  • describe the written statements on the samples;
  • describe his/her procedure on being invited to act as Judge (including reference to the show schedule and rules);
  • demonstrate the use of his/her judging equipment, (grading glasses, tasting rods, etc.).
  • describe the various methods of arriving at a decision (points or comparison);
  • describe and demonstrate his/her procedure at the show bench and in particular his/her system of sequence of operation, and the “weighting” given to flavour, viscosity, cleanliness, etc.;
  • describe and discuss the following:- honeydew; heather honey (thixotropy); natural granulation and soft set honey; (frosting, type of granulation, fermentation).
  • describe and discuss the following: – honey cakes and confectionery.
  • describe and discuss the following: – beeswax (natural colour, aroma and any adulteration of the beeswax); beeswax candles and models.
  • describe and discuss “natural faults” of section honey, cut comb honey and combs suitable for extraction (wax moths, Braula);
  • describe possible faking. e.g. loose cappings put on open cells, overheating or “cooking” of honey in preparation of samples of honey for the show bench, caramelising of honey, bleaching.
  • show an appreciation of the necessity of good food handling hygiene by Judges, Stewards and Exhibitors.

Honeyshow Schedule and Rules
The Candidate shall be aware of:

  • the contents of the BBKA Booklet “A Guide for Judges and Exhibitors of Honey and Bee Produce”;
  • the implications of studying the show schedule and show rules before he/she commences judging the honey and bee products at the show, particularly with reference to the type of jar, weights, sizes, numbers, area of exhibits for display;
  • the necessity to use standard colour grading glasses;
  • the rules concerning multiple entries where these are permitted;
  • the general rules concerning the award of challenge cups, trophies and special awards.

Legal Requirements
The Candidate shall:

  • be aware of the current legal requirements for the labelling of jars of honey. Where labels are required to be put on jars of honey e.g. commercial classes and some gift classes, the labels shall be in accordance with the latest legal requirements;
  • give an account of the regulations governing the preparation of honey for sale including the suitability of the premises and equipment.
  • Liquid, Granulated, Soft Set, Heather Honey & Composite Classes

The Candidate shall be aware of:

  • the different types of honey;
  • the correct use of standard honey grading glasses;
  • the difference between naturally granulated honey and soft set honey and the requirements for the honey to have dry tops with no scum and that fine granulation is preferred to coarse;
  • the difference between ling heather honey and bell heather honey;
  • the requirement for all exhibits to be scrupulously clean, and to downgrade or disqualify as necessary;
  • the advisability of using the comparative system of judging, except in the composite, cakes and honey sweetmeats classes where a points system may be preferred.

Comb Suitable for Extraction, Cut Comb and Sections
The Candidate shall be aware of the need for:

  • cleanliness in all comb honey, especially in cut comb and sections where there will be no signs of Braula or Wax Moth;
  • no granulation or fermentation in all comb honey;
  • complete cleanliness of the woodwork of comb honey, the woodwork of sections and the plastic container of cut comb honey;
  • checking that sugar syrup feeding has not been used to complete the filling of combs. If detected the exhibit shall be disqualified.

Mead
The Candidate shall be aware of:

  • the details in the show schedule concerning the type of bottle and cork, and the permitted ingredients used in the preparation of mead;
  • the differences between dry mead and sweet mead;
  • the mead being clear with virtually no sediment in the bottom of the bottle and no secondary fermentation;
  • other “meads” such as melomel, metheglin, cyser and pyment.
  • The alternative methods of judging mead classes.

Wax
The Candidate shall be aware that:

  • the weight will be in accordance with the show schedule;
  • the wax may be polished or unpolished;
  • adulteration or bleaching will be heavily down-graded;
  • if the Exhibitor uses wooden show cases that the aroma of the wax may be affected by the aroma of the wooden show case and to downgrade as necessary.
  • the top of the wax will have an even flat surface, achieved by cooling at the correct temperature;
  • the wax will be perfectly clean and that there shall be no foreign bodies and to downgrade or disqualify as necessary.

Candles
The Candidates shall be aware that:

  • the candles will be made of pure beeswax and be prepared, moulded, poured, dipped or rolled in accordance with the show schedule;
  • the judge will light one candle to check the candle’s burning, indicating the correct sizing of the wick.
  • there shall be no smoke when the candle is burning.
  • the importance of wick size and the effect that a wrong size wick may have.

Displays
The Candidate shall be aware that:

  • this is the class in any honey show that is the least defined and that he/she will check very carefully the details in the show schedule;
  • he/she will check all items for cleanliness, purity, aroma and flavour, and the mead, beeswax, honey and comb honey as detailed in the sections on these items.
  • there are particular methods of judging that may have to be employed in this class, such as a points system.

Observation Hives
The Candidate shall be aware that:

  • the welfare of the bees is of paramount importance and if any distress is visible through overcrowding in observation hives this will result in disqualification.
  • they will be judged for educational purposes;
  • all items in the hive shall be labelled with up-to-date labels placed on the outside of the glass or Perspex of the hive;
  • the Queen will be marked;
  • water shall be available and not honey or sugar syrup for the bees;
  • there must be adequate ventilation built into the observation hive construction
  • the bees shall be allowed to fly if this is permissible;
  • the presence of any notifiable disease will disqualify the exhibit.
  • there are alternative methods of judging the observation hive.

Honey Cakes and Honey Sweetmeats
The Candidate shall be aware that:

  • the cake and sweetmeats will be in accordance with the show schedule;
  • the cake will not have sunk in the middle, and that if fruit is used in the recipe that it shall not have fallen to the bottom;
  • the cake will be cut in half with a suitable knife to check texture;
  • the cake and sweetmeats shall be tasted for honey flavour and the aroma noted.

Slides and Photographs

The Candidate shall be aware that the following points need to be considered when judging classes of slides and photographs:-

  • sharpness of focus of the subject of the photograph
  • composition of the photograph
  • subject of the photograph
  • originality
  • contrast
  • a caption or narrative if applicable
  • sizes of print and mount to be as defined in the Schedule.

A PDF copy of this section is available here:
Honey Judge Certificates

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