Background of the Popular Program

Program Development

A little about our program. It was developed by entomologists and beekeepers with decades of experience. Two entomologists/beekeepers were on OR are on other master beekeeper programs. The idea in mind was to develop a program of standardized education that is more comprehensive than regular beekeeping classes. It includes topics on taxonomy, biology, botany, genetics, pesticides, diseases, pests, and economics. We teach you how to be a productive honey producer – over time.

Each course is 4.5 hours long and taught by experienced beekeepers, who give their own two cents during the lectures. We developed study guide books (one per class) based on certification exam material. For example, the first book would include 100% of the exam material. The second book, 90%. Third book, well, you get the picture. We also include material from classes I taught while at University of Illinois.

We promote the joining of local beekeeping associations and finding a mentor. In fact, they are requirements of our program. You learn your hands on practice through these local associations, and we supply a list of them for you to choose. We also give you a list of beekeeping equipment suppliers. We are always in need of new instructors (i.e. those with greater or equal to 7 years of beekeeping), and they earn public service/mentoring credit at a rate that is faster than mentoring alone.

We follow you through the program and offer examinations that test your knowledge of the material. If you’re in the program, you can’t move forward without a passing grade. However, we do offer the first 3 classes to the general public who want to learn more about bees and pollinators.

Program requirements

The entire program requirements plan is detailed in the Midwest master Beekeeper Program Requirements Manual that is available for download here. The program requirements for out of state participants are identical to those of in state participants. Those that have to take the proctored exams will need to work with a designated testing center to schedule an exam. Individuals can remotely take the courses through Skype. Contact the Director for more information.

Protection for Pollinators

Every beekeeper and individual deserves the best possible education for the best possible price. We understand that some individuals wish to take the courses for personal enrichment and have no need to achieving their certification. That’s why we changed the coursework to be available at libraries, community centers, extension centers, and nature centers. The best way to benefit pollinators and honeybees is to spread the standardized, quality, education. Anyone can take the first three courses without requirement to be in the certified program. However, if you decide after taking those courses that you wish to join the program (and we hope you do!), all you need to do is take the examinations and earn your shadowing/mentoring hours. You don’t need to start from the beginning!

For more information, please contact Dr. Jones at:

Information on Board Members is located here.

We are currently seeking instructors and mentors in Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Kansas.

*Thanks to Dr. Jamie Ellis, and the University of Florida for their support and providing materials for this program.

Photo Credit: Challis Lee Kinslow

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