Master Beekeeping

CERTIFICATE ID: PTRENTC01

Certificate Overview

  • Consists of 4 online courses plus a final in-person Master Beekeeping Exam Series

This series of courses equips beekeepers from the hobby to the commercial level with the concepts, knowledge, and best management practices needed to pass Cornell University’s Master Beekeeper Certificate written, oral, and field examinations.

By the end of this series of courses you will have the skills and knowledge needed to keep colonies healthy and productive year after year. You’ll be able to expand the amount, quality, and type of bee products and services you produce; and determine if you want to take advantage of the business opportunities that beekeeping can provide. You will gain a deep understanding of honey bees as living organisms and be able to navigate controversial topics so you can communicate with credibility in the beekeeping community. Lastly, you will be able to act as a resource to educate new beekeepers and participate in bee research and outreach.

In order to receive the final certificate, students must contribute meaningfully in a set number of discussions, moderated by Emma Mullen, Extension Associate, and pass the written, oral, and field exams at Dyce Lab.

  • Apply knowledge of honey bee evolution and behavior to better identify and respond to the needs of your honey bees
  • Use systematic hands-on techniques to support your colonies’ ability to thrive, keeping your colonies healthy year after year, and achieving your specific objectives
  • Prevent and control pests and diseases that interfere with honey bee health and productivity
  • Explore the possibilities and considerations of how you can both profit from and contribute to the success of these amazing pollinators

Beekeepers with at least three years of experience who are seeking advanced depth and breadth of knowledge to increase the success of their operation, extend their business opportunities, and gain credibility as a resource in the beekeeping community. 

Faculty Authors and Experts

David Hopkins
Katherine Urban-Mead
Kimberly Carpenter
Ben Carpenter
Eleanor Andrews
Tom Seeley
Emma Mullen

Certificate Courses

In order for your hives to truly thrive, you must have a deep understanding of honey bees as living organisms.  Knowing how honey bees have evolved and understanding why they behave the way they do is key in supporting your hives' survival and success.  Learn the “what” and “why” of honey bee behavior from world-renowned experts at Cornell University so you can better identify and respond to the needs of your honey bees. 

Course Description

Effective hive management requires an understanding of the behavior, physiology, and evolution of these amazing and complex creatures. Learn this critical knowledge from world-renowned honey bee experts as well as Cornell University researchers and extension associates. This course serves as a foundation to help you understand the characteristics of a colony and how these traits and behaviors support colony survival and success. This information can be applied as you develop your hands-on beekeeping skills and will translate directly into your hive management practices. In addition, it will will enable you to better understand the current scientific research and communicate with credibility within the beekeeping community. 

This is the first in a series of courses that equip beekeepers at the hobby, sideliner, and commercial level with the concepts, knowledge, and best management practices needed to pass the written, oral and field components of Cornell University’s Master Beekeeper Certificate.

Keeping your hives healthy year after year is an art and a science. In this course you will learn hands-on techniques from world-renowned bee experts and experienced beekeepers to keep your hives thriving and to achieve the outcomes you desire.

Course Description

Supporting your colonies’ ability to thrive and achieving your desired outcomes requires a systematic approach and the application of practical techniques and knowledge. In this course you will learn how to predict what to expect in your colony season by season. You’ll gain confidence in your ability to analyze different situations and make informed management decisions based on the scientific principles you learn here. Apply the hands-on techniques used by experienced, expert beekeepers, honey bee biologists, and the Cornell University Honey Bee Extension team to keep your colonies healthy and to produce your desired outcomes year after year.

This is the second in a series of courses that equip beekeepers at the hobby, sideliner, and commercial level with the concepts, knowledge, and best management practices needed to pass the written, oral and field components of Cornell University’s Master Beekeeper Certification.

Honey bees today are faced with more pests and diseases than ever before. In this course you will learn prevention, monitoring, and control strategies from the research and experience of those at the Cornell University Honey Bee Research and Extension Program, as well as from experienced beekeepers and world-renowned bee biologists. As a result, you will have the knowledge to manage pests, parasites, and pathogens that interfere with honey bee health and productivity.

Course Description

Managing pests and diseases is the number one reason beekeepers reach out to the Cornell University Honeybee Research and Extension Program for support. In this course you will gain knowledge about honey bee immunity as well as how to apply Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles to prevent and control all known pests, parasites, and pathogens that interfere with honeybee health and productivity.  As a result, you’ll feel confident in your ability to monitor, diagnose, and control specific problems in your colonies as you learn how to be proactive and take charge of the health of your bee operation.

This is the third in a series of courses that equip beekeepers at the hobby, sideliner, and commercial level with the concepts, knowledge, and best management practices needed to pass the written, oral and field components of Cornell University’s Master Beekeeper Certification.

Learn from the experiences of expert beekeepers who have made careers from producing and selling honey bee products and services to determine if making (or growing) a business opportunity with your bees is right for you. You will also learn how you can participate in education, science, research and outreach with the ultimate goal of contributing to a sustainable future for pollinators.

Course Description

Beekeepers are in a unique position to both reap financial benefit from their hives and to contribute to the health of pollinator populations and the greater beekeeping community. In this course you will learn about major hive products and services, how to grow your operation, and what options to consider for beekeeping as a business. Even if you are not interested in making a profit from your bees, you will gain a valuable appreciation for the beekeeping industry, and understand how hard bees and beekeepers work.

You will also learn how to evaluate the quality of information sources about bees and beekeeping, allowing you to contribute to education, research and outreach as well as participate in research activities, mentoring less experienced beekeepers, and raising awareness on pollinator issues. This course will prepare you to be a leader in your beekeeping community.

This is the fourth in a series of courses that equip beekeepers at the hobby, sideliner, and commercial level with the concepts, knowledge, and best management practices needed to pass the written, oral and field components of Cornell University’s Master Beekeeper Certification.

The evaluation course enables learners to schedule their in-person evaluation in Ithaca, NY. 

Course Description

This course enables you to schedule the evaluation components required in order to earn the Cornell University Master Beekeeping Certificate. Although evaluations can be scheduled in advance, students must complete all required coursework prior to completing their evaluations.

Components that will be evaluated include:

  • A written examination demonstrating comprehension and application of knowledge learned in coursework. The written examination will take place at Dyce Lab, Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. The written exam consists of multiple choice, short answer, and long answer questions. Students must score 70% or higher on their written examination in order to pass this component of the final examination.
     
  • Delivery of a 15-minute oral presentation demonstrating applied knowledge of beekeeping and research beyond the information provided in the coursework. (Can be completed remotely using video conference technology or in person at Dyce Lab). Research topic must be approved by course instructor and the oral presentation must be accompanied by visual slides. Students will be evaluated on the following criteria:
    • their ability to locate, critically evaluate, and interpret the scientific literature and other information sources
    • the presentation’s informational content 
    • the presentation’s organization 
    • their communication skills 
    • the presentation’s level of appropriateness for the audience
    • their ability to answer follow-up questions from the instructor 
  • Students must score 70% or higher on their oral examination in order to pass this component of the final examination.
     
  • An evaluation of fieldwork demonstrating application of effective management techniques learned in the coursework (completed at Dyce Lab). Students will demonstrate these skills one-on-one with the instructor on Dyce Lab honey bee hives. Students are expected to bring their own protective gear. Thin medical gloves are permitted, but leather gloves are not. Examples of techniques to be demonstrated include (but are not limited to) the following:
    • performing a split
    • performing a merge  
    • making a nuc
    • performing proper inspections
    • identifying pests and diseases
    • monitoring for pests and diseases
    • handling queens
    • assessing the nutrition of the colony
    • troubleshooting issues
  • Students must score 70% or higher on their field examination in order to pass this component of the final examination.

In order to enroll in Cornell Master Beekeeping Exam Series, all four courses, PTRENT001, PTRENT002, PTRENT003, PTRENT004 must be completed.