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Senior Husbandry Syllabus

BEEKEEPING EXAMINATION SENIOR-HUSBANDRY SYLLABUS

The following is a comprehensive Husbandry syllabus; to get a measure of the full Senior syllabus the corresponding Scientific syllabus should also be studied and the full Intermediate syllabus should be revised.  

The student should consult the Syllabi in conjunction with the on-site list of questions taken from previous examination papers: testing oneself against the examination questions will give a good idea of how one’s study is progressing and how much of the syllabus has been adequately covered in preparation for the real examination.


HONEYBEE NATURAL HISTORY AND BIOLOGY
The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:  

  • how a knowledge of the number of days spent in each stage of brood development from egg to adult can help the beekeeper to “read “ the hive like a book and solve practical problems;

  • the effect of feeding on caste determination with an outline discussion of the differences between brood food and royal jelly;

  • the difference  between summer and winter worker honeybees;

  • the signs of laying workers in a colony and give an account of the circumstances in which they are produced and how the situation may be remedied;

  • the signs and the  causes of a drone laying queen in a colony and how the situation may be remedied;

HONEYBEE BEHAVIOUR
The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:

  • the function and behaviour of the worker honeybee throughout its life including

      • the types of work done,

      • duration of work periods under normal circumstances and

      • the variations in behaviour due to seasonal changes in the state of the colony;

  • the seasonal variations in the population size of a honeybee colony and an explanation of such variations;
    the social organisation of the honeybee colony;

  • the behaviour of the  foraging bee and its work methods in the field including orientation;

  • the behaviour of the worker bee towards intruders and the theories advanced to describe the means by which colonies recognise intruders;

  • the collection of nectar and water and their use by the colony

  • the collection, storage and use of pollen by the honeybee colony;

  • the collection, storage and use of propolis by the honeybee colony;

  • the conditions leading to swarming and supersedure.

    HONEYBEE DISEASES, PESTS, PATHOGENS AND POISONING

The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:  

  • the treatment of AFB and EFB including methods of destruction of colonies and sterilisation of equipment

  • the signs and symptoms of poisoning by natural substances, pesticides and herbicides

    • crops most likely to be sprayed thereby causing damage to honeybee colonies

    • methods of spraying and the sprays which are likely to be least detrimental to honeybee colonies

    • methods which can be used by the beekeeper to diminish the problem of spray poisoning

    • action to be taken when spray damage is suspected.

APIARY AND  HONEYBEE MANAGEMENT AND HISTORY
The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:

  • the management of colonies for the production of comb honey;

  • the use of honeybees as pollinators in orchards and fields of seed crops including arrangements to be  made with the farmer/grower;

  • the production and use of pollen supplement and substitutes;

  • methods of swarm control suitable for use in small and large beekeeping enterprises;

  • methods of monitoring and maintaining the health of colonies;

  • the setting up  and management throughout the season of an observation hive and the uses to which it can be put;

  • the identification of pollen grains by their colour, size specific shape and structure, using named examples and an outline account of the technique of melissopalynology to determine the floral source and geographical origin of honey samples;

  • the life history of one selected species of each of the following found in Ireland: solitary bee and social bee (other than Apis mellifera);

  • the history of beekeeping in Ireland and of leading contributions to the knowledge of the honeybee, honeybee practices and the use of the CDB hive;

  • ancient Irish beekeeping and its interrelation with both agriculture and our ancient laws as can be seen in the Brehon Laws and in Becbretha.

SELECTION AND BREEDING OF HONEYBEES
The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:  

  • the principles of the selection of breeder queens and drones;

  • a system of record keeping used in the assessment of queens and their progeny;

  • methods of queen rearing suitable for a beekeeper with five to ten colonies and methods more suitable for larger scale queen rearing operations;

  • a method of instrumental insemination and assess the role this technique could play in honeybee breeding;

  • the signs of queen-less-ness and how this may be confirmed;

  • methods of marking and clipping queens and the advantages of these practices;

  • queen cells produced under

      • emergency,

      • supersedure and

      • swarm impulse;

  • methods of

      • queen introduction,

      • the principles underlying the processes involved,

      • the precautions to be taken and the

  • attendant difficulties in relation to different strains of bee and colony condition;

  • the setting up of a mating nuclei and any precautions that need to be taken.