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Senior Scientific Syllabus

IRISH BEEKEEPERS’ ASSOCIATION CLG      
SYLLABUS FOR THE SENIOR BEEKEEPING EXAMINATION –  SCIENTIFIC PAPER

The following is a comprehensive Scientific syllabus; to get a measure of the full Senior syllabus the corresponding Husbandry 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:  
the metamorphosis of the larva with an outline account of ecdysis, larval defecation, cocoon spinning, the external anatomy of the pro-pupa, its change to a pupa and then to an imago;
the alimentary system including the process of digestion by enzymes and the absorption and assimilation of the products of digestion;


the excretory system and the  substances excreted;
the respiratory system, including the muscular ventilation of the air sacs, the structure and operation of the spiracles and the exchange of respiratory gases;
the circulatory system, including the heart, dorsal and ventral diaphragms and the composition and functions of haemolymph;


the exocrine glands and the functions of their secretions particularly of the hypopharyngeal glands, the mandibular glands, the wax glands, Nasonov gland and sting glands, post cerebral and thoracic salivary glands;
the endocrine glands and the functions of their secretions;
the nervous system and sense organs;
the fat body and its storage of metabolites;


the reproductive system of queen and drone and the production of sperm and eggs;
the structure of the egg, development of the embryo within the egg and the hatching of the larva;
the internal and external structure of the honeybee larva.
the physiological and structural differences between laying workers and normal workers and the role of pheromones in bringing about these differences;


the structure and main constituents of the cuticle with an outline account of its invagination within the body to form linings of the gut and trachea;
the external anatomy of the queen, worker and drone;
the function and structure of the wings, legs, antennae, sting, mouth parts and hairs;
the role of the direct and indirect muscles and flight.

HONEYBEE BEHAVIOUR

The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:
the mating behaviour of the honeybee queen and drone including an account of the pheromones involved and the concept of drone congregation areas;
the queen honeybee’s egg laying behaviour and its relationship to changing circumstances in the hive and external factors relating to climate and season;


the use of honeybees in orchards and fields of seed crops with particular reference to honeybee behaviour;
the behaviour of swarms and the method of selection by the swarm of a site for a new home;
the colony in summer and winter with special reference to ventilation, humidity and temperature control.

HONEYBEE DISEASES, PESTS, PATHOGENS AND POISONING

The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:  
viruses and their detection;
the life cycle of the Varroa mite, its detection and treatment;
the signs and symptoms of Varroosis and methods of detection and any subsequent problems that might arise;
the life cycle of the Small Hive Beetle and Asian Hornet, their detection and treatment;
the signs and symptoms of AFB and EFB and how they develop within the colony;

the life cycle of the causative organisms of AFB and EFB and the development within the larva;
the ways in which AFB and EFB are spread;
the statutory requirements relating to honeybee pests and diseases and their implementation in Ireland;
Addled Brood, Chalk Brood, Sac Brood and Stone Brood, their causes, signs and symptoms and recommended treatment;

the signs and symptoms (if any) of  all adult honey bee diseases found in Ireland;
the various treatments of adult bee diseases;
the laboratory diagnosis of Acarine, Nosema and  Amoeba diseases;
the life cycle of Braula Coeca and its effect on the colony.

APIARY AND  HONEYBEE MANAGEMENT AND  HISTORY

The Candidate shall be able to give a detailed account and draw illustrative diagrams where appropriate of:  
the quality of a colony for honey production;
the nutritional value of honey to the honeybee colony;
the techniques involved in overcoming problems associated with the extraction of ling heather honey and oil seed rape honey;

the properties of honey including specific gravity, refractive index, viscosity, hygroscopicity, reactions to heat and aging;
the process of honey granulation including factors that affect its speed, crystal size and the texture of the final product;
the main constituents and physical properties of beeswax;

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 races and strains of honeybee commonly used by beekeepers in Europe with particular reference to their appearance and behavioural characteristics;
the important aspects of the behaviour in relation to breeding programmes of the Cape honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis);

Mendelian genetics, particularly the inheritance of one gene with two alleles and the concept of multiple alleles;
inheritance in the honeybee and of the evolution of the honeybee as a social insect;
the genetic basis of sex determination in the honeybee including parthenogenesis;

mitosis and meiosis showing an understanding of the unusual nature of meiosis in the drone honeybee;
the reproductive system of the queen and drone with an outline account of sperm and egg production.