October 25, 2014

The Serious Beekeeper: Time to Begin Master Beekeeper Preparations

Master Beekeeper Erin MacGregor-Forbes at the 2010 Eastern Apicultural Society Annual Meeting

Master Beekeeper Erin MacGregor-Forbes at the 2010 Eastern Apicultural Society Annual Meeting

The Eastern Apicultural Society annual meetings will be held in New England in both 2011 and 2012. Any Maine beekeeper who is serious about expanding their beekeeping knowledge and skill set should plan to attend one or both of these meetings. The 2011 EAS will be held the last week of July in Rhode Island and the 2012 EAS will be held the second week of August in Vermont. Both of these meetings will be fantastic and will have tons of workshops and educational opportunities for all levels of beekeeper, from beginners to extremely advanced apiarists.

As always, EAS will be certifying Master Beekeepers this at the annual conferences. This involves an application process (including recommendations of candidates by Master Beekeepers or recognized professionals in the field of apiculture), as well as a four-part test. The test includes a written examination, a lab exam, a field exam (hive inspection), and an oral exam. The test is currently prepared and evaluated by Clarence Collison (formerly of Mississippi State University) and it is comprehensive and very demanding. Candidates often sit for the exam multiple times before passing. Fortunately once one section is passed, it need not be re-taken.

With the recent increase in the number of backyard beekeepers in Maine, we have a clear need for more involved mentoring beekeepers and the Master Beekeeper program is designed to meet exactly this need. There is certainly demand for at least double the amount of bee schools being taught in our state. Increasing backyard beekeepers has also increased nuisance complaints. We need a strong population of Master Beekeepers to help ease some of these bottlenecks for our bees and our beekeepers. To find out more about the EAS master beekeeper program, see the listing on page 14, as well as the EAS website.

Maine currently has four Master Beekeepers—myself, Rick Cooper, Carol Cottrill and Theo Cherbuliez. In addition, Larry Peiffer is a current Master Beekeeper candidate having passed all but the lab exam, and Roy Cronkhite has just begun the process and has passed the field exam. I would like to encourage anyone interested in more information about the Master Beekeeper program to contact any one of us!

  • Erin MacGregor-Forbes 838-4046 queenbee@overlandhoney.com
  • Rick Cooper 666-5643 rick@bees-n-me.com
  • Carol Cottrill 364-0917 cottrill136@roadrunner.com
  • Theo Cherbuliez 865-9016
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