To register for the exams please see
The VSBA MBP Committee:
•VSBA MBP Director: Frank S. Walker, President, Norfolk Beekeepers
•VSBA MBP Senior Testing Official: Keith Tignor VDACS State Apiarist
•VSBA MBP Testing Consultant: Ann Harman EAS Master Beekeeper
•VSBA MBP Testing Consultant: Karla Eisen EAS Master Beekeeper
•Program Consultant: Dr. James Wilson - Virginia Tech
The Master Beekeeper Program of the VSBA will consist of 3 levels, the Apprentice Beekeeper level; the Journeyman Beekeeper level, and the Master Beekeeper level. The requirements for each level are posted below.
All beekeepers, regardless of experience or years of beekeeping knowledge, must enter the VSBA MBP at the Apprentice Beekeeper testing level.
Candidates for the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Beekeeper must document a certain number of Public Service Credits (PSC) annually. “Public service” is defined as volunteer service or educational activity oriented around bees and beekeeping and conducted for the benefit of the PUBLIC.
Public Service Credit (PSC) is received for a documented event of a qualified public service. In general, documentation must be material evidence, in writing; and more detail is better than less. The MBP Committee reserves the right to accept or reject documentation during review of the applicant request for credits.
Public Service Credits, also known as community volunteer service, not only helps to fulfill the mission of VSBA and our local chapters; but serve as a learning tool for the individual beekeeper. Each time we set about teaching, talking, or sharing our knowledge of beekeeping, we have another opportunity to learn more ourselves. A diversity of experiences and activities is desired to provide a better opportunity, and it is for this reason that in most instances, only one credit per type of activity is credited per MBP level.
To maintain VSBA Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Beekeeper certifications Public Service Credits should be completed and reported on or before by December 15 annually.
Frank S. Walker
VSBA MBP Director
Anyone with an interest in honeybees is invited to participate in this program. All participants must be a member of Virginia State Beekeepers Association to enroll and continue membership to be identified as a VSBA Master Beekeeper. All of the educational offerings to support the program as well as all of the testing are conducted within Virginia. Apprentice, Journeyman and Master Beekeeper written exams are only held at the two membership meetings each year. No exceptions.
There is a monetary cost for testing at each level of the program.
Requirements summary for each level:
Apprentice Beekeeper: Cost $25.00 - covers both the written and practical testing.
Entry level for the program: beginning beekeepers are welcome as an encouragement to interested folks who want to increase their knowledge.
1. Written test.
2. Practical test which demonstrates the techniques involved in a routine hive inspection.
NOTE: It is the responsibility of the VSBA Apprentice and Journeyman beekeepers who have successfully passed the written exam to contact one of the VSBA Master Beekeepers to coordinate and schedule a time to complete their practical hive inspection testing in an apiary other than your own.
See Master Beekeeper List_Map for locations and contact info.
3. Five (5) hours of approved Public Service Credit (PSC) annually.
Approved Public Service Credit includes but is not limited to: Preparing and presenting a honey bee program, staffing a table at a community event, conducting a training class or program at a local school, library, or other club or association.
Journeyman Beekeeper: Cost $25.00 covers both the written and practical testing.
Second level for the program:
1. Written test.
2. Practical test which also includes identification of various tools, objects, and pictures relating to honey bee biology and beekeeping. - It is your responsibility to contact and schedule this with one of the master beekeepers.
3. Four years of beekeeping experience.
4. Ten (10) hours of Public Service Credit annually relating to honeybees and beekeeping.
Approved Public Service Credit includes but is not limited to: Preparing and presenting multiple honey bee programs to local clubs, VSBA or other state beekeeping associations, staffing a table at a community event, developing and leading a training class or program at a local school, library, or other club or association.
Master Beekeeper: Cost $50.00 covers both the written and practical testing.
Final level for the program: For the beekeeper who has demonstrated extensive expertise in beekeeping and a number of specialized areas in beekeeping.
1. Written test
2. Practical laboratory test which includes demonstrate honey bee dissection and disease identification.
3. Personal interview.
4. Six years of beekeeping experience.
5. Twenty (20) hours of Public Service Credit annually relating to honeybees and beekeeping.
Approved Public Service Credit includes but is not limited to:
- Presenting bee-related lecture or workshop to non-beekeeping group (youth or adult).
- Programs on beekeeping and related topics to school groups.
- Serving as an officer in local beekeeping association.
- Assisting members of youth organizations (4-H, Scouts, FFA), etc. with bee related projects.
- Mentoring a new beekeeper through at least one complete season.
- Public demonstration on beekeeping topic at fair, festival or similar public event.
- Publication of beekeeping and related article in journals, newsletters, etc.
- Programs/lectures/demonstrations on specific beekeeping topics to beekeeping groups.
- Working at the VA state fair (bee related).
- Miscellaneous: you may submit a special program under this category to the MBP Director; however it must be reviewed and approved by the VSBA MBP committee
Once all written and practical testing is successfully completed, a Certificate of Recognition will be presented to you at the next membership meeting.
If you can’t make the meeting, notify the Master Beekeeper Program (MBP) Director and a certificate will be emailed to you.