WBKA Basic Assessment Syllabus


The Candidate will be aware of:

1.1 the care needed when handling a colony of honeybees;

1.2 the reactions of honeybees to smoke;

1.3 the personal equipment needed to open a colony of honeybees and the importance of its cleanliness;

1.4 the reasons for opening a colony;

1.5 the need for stores.

1.6 the importance of record keeping.

The Candidate will be able to:

1.7 open a colony of honeybees and keep the colony under control;

1.8 demonstrate lighting and the use of the smoker;

1.9 demonstrate the use of the hive tool;

1.10 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;

1.11 identify the female castes and the drone;

1.12 identify brood at all stages;

1.13 demonstrate the difference between drone, worker and honey cappings;

1.14 identify stored nectar, honey and pollen;

1.15 take a sample of worker bees in a match box or similar container;

1.16 state the number of worker bees required for an adult disease diagnosis sample;

1.17 demonstrate how to shake bees from a comb and how to look for signs of brood disease;

1.18 name and explain the function of the principal parts of a modern beehive;

1.19 discuss the concept of the bee space and its significance in the modern beehive;

1.20 assemble a brood frame and fit it with wired wax foundation;

1.21 discuss spacing of the combs in the brood chamber and super for both foundation and drawn comb and methods used to achieve this spacing.



The Candidate will be:

2.1 able to give an elementary account of the development of queens. workers and drones in the honeybee colony ;

2.2 able to state the periods spent by the female castes and the drone in the four stages of their life (egg, larva, pupa and adult);

2.3 able to name the main local flora from which honeybees gather pollen and nectar;

2.4 able to give a simple definition of nectar and a simple description of how it is

collected, brought back to the hive and is converted into honey;

2.5 able to give a simple description of the collection and use of pollen, water and propolis in the honeybee colony;

2.6 able to give an elementary description of the way in which the honeybee colony passes the winter.

2.7 able to give an elementary description of how to set up an apiary;

2.8 able to describe what precautions should be taken to avoid the honeybees being a nuisance to neighbours and livestock;

2.9 able to describe the possible effects of honeybee stings on humans and able to recommend suitable first aid treatment;

2.10 able to give an elementary description of the annual cycle of work in the apiary;

2.11 able to describe the preparation of sugar syrup and how and when to feed bees;

2.12 aware of the need to add supers and the timing of the operation;

2.13 aware of the dangers of robbing and how robbing can be avoided;

2.14 able to describe a method used to clear honeybees from supers;

2.15 able to describe the process of extracting honey from combs and a method of straining and bottling of honey suitable for a small scale beekeeper, including hygiene;

2.16 aware of the various web based resources relating to beekeeping such as BBKA and Beebase.



The Candidate will be:

3.1 able to give an elementary description of swarming in a honeybee colony;

3.2 able to give an elementary account of one method of swarm control;

3.3 able to describe how to take a honeybee swarm and how to hive it;

3.4 able to describe the signs of a queenless colony and how to test if a colony is queenless;

3.5 able to describe the signs of laying workers and of a drone laying queen;

3.6 able to describe a simple method of queen introduction;

3.7 able to describe one method of uniting colonies and precautions to be taken;



The Candidate will be:

4.1 able to describe the appearance of healthy brood, sealed and unsealed;

4.2 aware of the reasons for good apiary hygiene;

4.3 aware of the reasons for regular brood comb replacement.;

4.4 able to describe the signs of the bacterial diseases American Foul Brood (AFB) and

European Foul Brood (EFB), the fungal disease Chalk Brood and the viral disease Sac brood;

4.5 able to describe methods for detecting and monitoring the presence of varroa (a mite)

and describe its effect on the colony including awareness of the effect of associated viruses;

4.6 aware of acarine (a mite) and nosema (a fungus) and their effect upon the colony;

4.7 able to describe ways of controlling varroa using integrated pest management techniques;

4.8 aware of the current legislation regarding notifiable diseases and pests of honeybees;

4.9 aware of whom to contact to verify disease and advise on treatment;

4.10 able to describe how comb can be stored to prevent wax moth damage;

4.11 able to describe how mice and other pests can be excluded from the hives in winter.

Version January 2017

Last update 20/02/2018