Courses

Beekeeping Courses


Our 2019 eight week Beekeeping course will run beginning 22nd January 2019. If the course is full or over, you are still welcome to attend our monthly meetings on the second tuesday of the month in Portlaoise. If this is something you might be interested in please leave us a message on the contact page.


Here is a syllabus of the course details and topics to be covered.
Education and Examination Board
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
The student will be:
• 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
• able to catch a few worker bees and put them in a matchbox or carrying cage for disease diagnosis
Equipment
The student will be:
• able to name the parts of a modern 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
• able to give a simple description of wax production and comb building by the honeybee
• 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
Beekeeping
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:
• be able to describe the varroa mite, know how to test for its presence in the hive and be aware of the main methods of treatment
• be able to describe the signs of American Foul Brood (AFB) and European Foul Brood (EFB)
• 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
Harvesting
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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