Apprentice Assistant

Two bees on a landing board

The Apprentice Assistant level of the CAMBP explores the art and skill of beekeeping prior to keeping bees, even if you live in an area where beekeeping is not possible. This level of the CAMBP is the perfect science-based introduction to everything you need to know in order to keep safe, healthy bees. If you cannot keep bees at your location, and want an ‘in-hive’ experience, the CAMBP can recommend options.  The CAMBP requires 10 hours of volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education each year so members maintain and expand their beekeeping knowledge and skills. The Apprentice Assistant level of the CAMBP answers this question: "Do I have what it takes to be a beekeeper and is this a hobby I really wish to pursue?"

General Goals:

  • To learn the basic skills and knowledge to care for bees, using science-based research
  • To teach the public about the importance of honey bees, and bees in general
  • To learn how to keep a healthy bee colony

Apprentice Assistants Will Learn 

  • To recognize potential problems (hive assessment)
  • To anticipate and prevent negative events (robbing, mite loads…)
  • To start and keep a healthy colony

To Work In An Apiary Apprentice Assistants Must:

Written test includes:

  • Identifying beekeeping tools and equipment

Practical test includes:

  • Describing the parts of the hive
  • Lighting and using a smoker
  • Recognizing the stages of brood (workers, drone and queen cells)
  • Recognizing the different castes of bees
  • Finding or describing the queen
  • Differentiating between brood, pollen, nectar, and honey
  • Recognizing propolis and describe its function
  • Describing the layout of a brood nest (“the perfect frame”, placement of honey, pollen and brood)

Become an Apprentice Assistant (AA) 

Fill out the application below. Expect an email with your registration link in January.  Once you register and pay, you will receive the Apprentice Assistant Study Guide to assist in you in preparing for your written and practical test. You will also receive links to 3, live, online study halls, facilitated by CAMBP staff, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet other new beekeepers and ask questions to prepare you to take the written and practical test (in person or over Zoom depending on the COVID restrictions). Programming officially starts in March. Exams are held in September of each year. Passing grade is 80% to become an official Apprentice Assistant, and you’ll have access to:

  • The CAMBP member network
  • Webinars 
  • CAMBP member news
  • Beneficial Education Experiences (BEEs) and Continuing Education hours (CEs) forms for recording your education and volunteer service hours (10 BEEs = 10 hours, and 12 CEs = 12 hours per year. Recording expected AFTER certification, between September 30 and October 1 each year).
    • Beneficial Educational Experiences examples include:
      • Assisting an Apprentice in presenting a bee-related lecture or workshop to non-beekeeping group (youth or adult).
      • Holding office in a local beekeeping association.
      • Assisting an Apprentice in mentoring members of youth organizations (4-H, Scouts, FFA), etc. with a bee-related project.
      • Assisting an Apprentice in giving a public demonstration on beekeeping at fair, festival or similar public event (hosting a booth or a table).
      • Assisting an Apprentice in apiary yard maintenance
      • Assisting an Apprentice in honey extraction
    • Continuing Education hours may include:
      • Listening to a science-based beekeeping podcast or lecture, reading beekeeping magazines and books, reading honey bee research articles, attending beekeeping trade shows or conferences, taking science-based courses online and in-person.

Cost of the Apprentice Assistant level is $50. You can choose to remain an Apprentice Assistant after your first year, or enroll in our certified Apprentice level. All programming begins in March and ends in September. Online and in-person classes are not covered in the $50 registration fee. 

Contact with questions.

Applications for 2021 are now closed.  2022 Apprentice Assistant Applications will reopen in November 2021