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



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Notice to all FIBKA Members

Insurance is in place for all FIBKA members as normal until 31 December 2017.

All FIBKA members have to renew their membership from 1st January 2018 as normal, in order to avail of FIBKA benefits including Insurance, An Beachaire, Gormanston, Education and all other membership benefits.

Membership benefits commence only when a members details are returned to the FIBKA Membership Secretary, by their Association Secretary/Treasurer.

We have been made aware that some Associations are not renewing their affiliation to FIBKA consequently all benefits for the members of those Associations end on the 31st December 2017, and Members in these Associations who wish to continue with FIBKA please contact the FIBKA Membership Secretary Joanna McGlaughlin at for details of Associations near to you that are affiliated to FIBKA."

Executive Council meeting 16th December

An Executive Council meeting was held in Tullamore on Saturday the 16th of December to discuss among other items the current situation in FIBKA.

Here is a short description of what happened at that meeting

What does FIBKA offer its members?

Here is a comprehensive list of what FIBKA offers its members

Letter from FIBKA Executive to all Member Associations

The letter can be read here in its entirety by clicking here. There will also be a downloadable PDF file that you can share with other members of your Association

Looking for honey labels and FIBKA lids?

For anyone looking to get the FIBKA jar lids or tamper proof labels for your honey, we have put together the following guidelines in how to apply for them. The document can be downloaded here

Hedge cutting

If you wish to report hedge cutting out of season
Contact the people below
National Parks & Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2
For General Queries:
Tel: +353-1-888 3242
LoCall 1890 383 000 (within Republic of Ireland only - rates charged for the use of 1890 numbers may vary among different service providers)
Fax: +353-1-888 3272

Disease Sampling Form

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