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

Effective 2021, to maintain an active status in the program, individuals will be responsible for 10 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 (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 Weekend 2020: September 26 -27 at the E. L. Niño Bee Lab at UC Davis. 

Online Exam Format: Candidates have 2 hours to complete the online exam which consists of multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and matching questions. No outside materials allowed during the online exam. 

Practical Exam Format: Candidates are assigned a 25 minute time slot for a one-on-one practical field 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. Testing occurs at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility located at the E. L. Niño Bee Biology Lab,  1 Bee Biology Rd., Davis, CA 95618 (UC Davis campus), or at one of the CAMBP satellite hubs across the state.

To pass, candidates must receive a score of 75% or higher on both practical and online exams.  
Online and practical exam results issued on the day of the practical exam.
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!

CSBA 2019

California Master Beekeepers at State and National Beekeeper Conferences

The CAMBP has taken the 'show on the road'! The California Master Beekeeper Program, UC Davis and UCCE San Diego staff and volunteers together with San Diego County Apiary Inspectors, offered over 150 CSBA convention attendees to experience the immersive and interactive outreach and extension efforts our program provides throughout the state. Thank you California State Beekeepers Association for inviting us to showcase The CAMBP! 

CAMBPrs helping participants learn how to use the compound microscope
CAMBP volunteers assist participants in learning how to use a compound microscope and check for nosema 


AHPA Convention was held in Sacramento, January 8-11, 2020 and we were there too! Our dedicated CAMBP volunteers offered a sample of our Advanced Anatomy and Physiology of the Honey Bee and Pest and Disease ID classes. Our outreach goals were networking and making honey bee science accessible. MIssion accomplished! 

Future Entomologists
Future Entomologists experimenting with honey bee dissection