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.




Disease Sampling Form

Teagasc offers a Honeybee disease diagnostic service to beekeepers, more information available here

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!

All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Great news! - The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 is released this week. Click here for more info!

Got something to say!?

We are looking for people to submit articles on beekeeping or anything related to it, on a once off or a regular basis. If you think you could put pen to paper, then please email the Beachaire Manager, Dermot O'Flaherty at