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Entomology: UGA Honey Bee Program

Georgia Master Beekeeper Program

What is the Georgia Master Beekeeper program?

The Georgia Master Beekeeper Program is an intensive four-step program designed to provide participants the opportunity to increase their knowledge about all things dealing with bees and beekeeping.

This program gives participants the opportunity to learn and also teach others about beekeeping and promote the industry. It also helps establish the participant as an authority and an educational resource in his or her community.

Individualized instruction is provided through a series of classroom lectures and hands-on workshops by experts in the field of beekeeping.

Advanced lectures for validated and registered candidates for the Journeyman and Master Beekeeper certification levels take place on the Thursday morning preceeding the Institute Proper (Friday & Saturday).

Training and certification for the Certified Beekeeper level are incorporated into the Institute Proper schedule on Friday and Saturday and highlighted in the official Program in blue (the less-experienced beekeepers' track).

NOTE: The Institute coursework (Thu, Fri or Sat) is not designed to prepare candidates for taking the exams, but is tailored to help those who are already prepared for the exams to focus on the most important information and have a better experience; another facet of the curriculum, since it takes place only once a year, is to serve as a foundation for preparation for the next level of the program, as well.

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What are the four levels of certification?

  1. Certified Beekeeper: Individual should be familiar with the basic skills and knowledge necessary for the beginning hobby beekeeper (see Certified requirements).
  2. Journeyman Beekeeper: Individual should be functioning as a competent hobby beekeeper with the skills and knowledge for moving into sideline beekeeping if desired (see Journeyman requirements).
  3. Master Beekeeper: Individual should be able to function as a sideline or commercial beekeeper. Can also demonstrate knowledge in such areas as bee botany, business aspects of beekeeping, honey and bee-related judging, bee behavior and other specialty areas (see Master requirements).
  4. Master Craftsman Beekeeper: Individual should have general knowledge of all relevant areas of beekeeping as well as be a specialist in one or more selected topics. Level is comparable to a graduate program in apiculture at a major U.S. university (see Master Craftsman requirements).
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How do Georgia Master Beekeepers impact their communities?

As of 2009, 180 beekeepers have participated in this program, 148 achieving the Certified level, 18 Journeyman, 13 Master, and 1 Master Craftsman.

Apiculture is an 80 million dollar industry in Georgia, including honey, hive products and pollination. Pollination by Georgia bees helps ensure a bountiful harvest of the state's 700 million dollar fruit and vegetable crop. Through their work as lecturers, TV and radio guests, newspaper and magazine article authors and local authorities, Georgia Master Beekeepers remain the public educators and ambassadors that keep beekeeping at center stage of public discourse and policy.

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How can I become a Master Beekeeper?

To participate in the Master Beekeeping Program you must attend the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, held annually in late spring on the campus of Young Harris College in Young Harris, GA.

The Institute is a two day (Friday-Saturday) meeting for Certified Level candidates. Lectures and exams for the Journeyman and/or higher are held on Thursday.

Programs and registration information is available on this Web site and also at UGA Cooperative Extension county offices.

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