Apprentice Level

Now accepting applications for the 2020 apprentice cohort at UC Davis. Notification of acceptances will issued after January 15th, 2020. 


  • Must own/manage a minimum of one colony for at least one year prior to testing.
  • Must have at least one registered hive where possible (certain counties do not have the ability to provide this service to the beekeepers; this will be confirmed prior to acceptance into the program).

Expectations and Goals:
Upon completion, Apprentice Level beekeepers will be able to:

  • Light and appropriately operate a smoker
  • Identify different casts in the colony
  • Open and examine a colony
  • Properly manage the colony throughout the year
  • Be able to identify and take care of any issues that the colony encounters
  • Identify and build/assemble standard hive equipment
  • Be able to properly feed colonies if needed
  • Prevent colony robbing
  • Monitor for pathogens and pests
  • Re-queen a colony

In order to maintain an active status in the program individuals will be responsible for two Beneficial Education Experiences (BEEs) per year. The following activities are pre-approved for satisfying Apprentice Level CAMBP BEEs requirements:

  • Presenting a bee-related lecture or workshop to non-beekeeping group (youth or adult).
  • Holding office in a local beekeeping association.
  • Assisting members of youth organizations (4-H, Scouts, FFA), etc. with a bee-related project.
  • Successfully mentoring a new beekeeper through at least one season.
  • Giving a public demonstration on beekeeping topic at fair, festival or similar public event.

Program Content
Required Text:

  • First Lessons in Beekeeping – Keith Delaplane (2007) Available via: Dadant (
  • CAMBP Study Guide – E.L. Niño and B.D. Niño

Supplemental Reading (not required, but strong educational information):

  • The Beekeeper’s Handbook, 4th Edition – Diana Sammataro, Alphonse Avitabile, Dewey M. Caron (2011)

Knowledge of the Following Topics Required:

  • Honey Bee Biology (Delaplane chapter 1 & 2)
  • Species and Races of Honey bees (Also, Sammataro Pgs. 3-8)
  • Characteristics and Individuals in the Hive
  • Development
  • Behavior
  • Communication
  • Morphology
  • Immunity

Anatomy of the Hive (Delaplane chapter 3); (Also, Sammataro chapter 3)

  • Apiary Selection and Orientation
  • Hive Components
  • Essential Beekeeping Equipment
  • Useful beekeeping equipment
  • Other Hives types

Starting and Managing Your Hives (Delaplane chapter 4)

  • Obtaining Honey Bees
  • Inspecting the Hive
  • Seasonal Management

Products of the Hive (Delaplane chapter 5 & 6); (Also, Sammataro chapter 12)

  • Honey
  • Wax
  • Bee Venom
  • Royal Jelly
  • Pollen
  • Propolis

Common Maladies of the Hive (Delaplane chapter 8)

  • Diseases
  • American Foulbrood
  • European Foulbrood
  • Chalkbrood
  • Nosemosis
  • Various viruses (Although please note, with advances in technology, new viruses are continually being identified)
  • Parasites and Pests
  • Varroa mites
  • Tracheal mites
  • Small Hive Beetle
  • Wax moths
  • Ants

Basic Honey Bee IPM (Working Your Colonies class/CAMBP Study Guide Pg 53)

  • Colony Losses
  • Cultural Control
  • Mechanical Control
  • Biological Control
  • Chemical Control

Recommended Reading:

  • Honey Bees and Beekeeping: A Year in the Life of an Apiary, 3rd Edition – Keith Delaplane (2007)
  • Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping – Dewey Caron (2013)
  • First Lessons in Beekeeping – Keith Delaplane (2007)
  • The Backyard Beekeeper, Revised and Updated: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden – Kim Flottum (2010)
  • The Beekeeper’s Handbook, 4th Edition – Diana Sammataro, Alphonse Avitabile, Dewey M. Caron (2011)
  • Recommended Periodicals:
  • American Bee Journal (
  • Bee Culture (
  • UC Davis Apiculture Newsletter (

Some Recommended Internet Resources:

Exam Schedule (written and practical) still to be firmed up but most likely will be as follows:
Test day option 1: 9/15/2019 (with review option on 9/14/2019)
Test day option 2: 9/22/2019 (with review option on 9/21/2019)

Exam Format:

Written and Practical exams will take place at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility located on 1 Bee Biology Rd., Davis, CA 95618 (UC Davis campus). Written examinations will begin at 9:30 AM and candidates will have 2 hours to complete the exam. The exam consists of multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and matching questions. No outside materials will be allowed during the written exam.

Candidates will be assigned a 25 minute time slot for a one-on-one exam with an examiner. The exam may include but it is not limited to identification of hive parts, tools, diseases/pests of honey bees, different castes, inspection of a colony, and bee marking. Candidates will be
responsible for bringing their own protective gear, but all other equipment will be
provided by the program.

To pass, candidates must receive a score of 75% or higher on both practical and written
examinations. Practical exams will be scored upon the completion of the examination
session. The examination fee is $250.

Candidates that do not pass the exam may retake the exam for an additional examination fee of $50.


Apply now for 2020!