Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Americasbeekeeper, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    I have been tasked to implement a program to “certify†beekeepers in Hillsborough County. The Board of Commissioners is implementing an ordinance to allow beekeeping on non-agricultural properties. They want prospective beekeepers to go through a practical and written course to ensure they can be responsible. The Commissioners thought the Florida Master Beekeeper program would satisfy the requirement, however a prerequisite is to be a registered beekeeper for one year.
    The practical will be modeled after the Florida Master Beekeeper tests. The candidate will inspect a hive from start to finish and tell the tester what they are doing and looking for. The second part is a written test.
    I am looking for the 50 most important questions for the written exam. It should include hive placement and how to be a good bee neighbor, disease control, best management practices, and enough knowledge to correctly answer questions from neighbors or the media. What do you think are the 50 top questions? Thank you.

    If the ordinance is implemented it will protect beekeepers and allow beekeeping in the city similar to the state initiative. Hillsborough County has the most new beekeepers per year, over 100, in the state of Florida for the past few years. This could easily become the model for other municipalities.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Those questions on the quiz Iddee recommends are great. However, some might be a bit too tough for beginners--the big issue in my opinion would be:
    What is to be considered the passing grade?
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Americanbeekeeper writes:
    The practical will be modeled after the Florida Master Beekeeper tests. The candidate will inspect a hive from start to finish and tell the tester what they are doing and looking for. The second part is a written test.
    I am looking for the 50 most important questions for the written exam. It should include hive placement and how to be a good bee neighbor, disease control, best management practices, and enough knowledge to correctly answer questions from neighbors or the media. What do you think are the 50 top questions?

    tecumseh:
    first it sounds to me like you have this process in reverse. some knowledge should come before practice?

    for the audience for which the ordinance is intended it sounds like this snip 'It should include hive placement and how to be a good bee neighbor, disease control, best management practices' plus perhaps seasonal concerns (appropriate for the locality) plus some basic bee biology should be the frame work of the bookish part of the requirement.

    having enough knowledge (initially) to answer questions from neighbors or the media might be a bit of a stretch.

    in regards to beekeeping essential skill somethings like lighting a smoker would be a given... the kind of hives (lang, top bar, etc) folks might wish to keep bees in might add to the complexity of completing this part of the requirement. any grade here is almost by definition highly subjective.
     
  5. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Sounds to me like what the board of commissioners wants would entail a 2 day, weekend class. 1st day classroom, 2d day-out in the beeyard followed by the written and practical tests.
    I think it's great that they want to allow beekeeping on non-agricultural land, and its a good idea to make sure that the future beeks aren't starting by dumping a bunch of bees in a box, and seeing what happens.
    As tec said, "Some knowledge should come before practice." I hope y'all find some middle ground. Good luck, and keep us posted.
     
  6. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Thank you, for the last few years interest in beekeeping always came by training. Beekeeping training is already offered by an annual Bee Seminar by Tampa Bay Beekeepers, monthy experience in TBBA's apiary, and Bee Workshops the third Saturday of every month at USF. It would not take a devoted novice to pick up the practical but a day or two just practicing and observing.
    We have noticed in lobbying for beekeepers interests the past years that the media and law makers know nothing about bees. Beekeepers, even with 40 years experience, say the wrong thing to neighbors and news crews threatening beekeeping in public opinion. Have you ever told someone you can tell AHB by behavior?
    The correct answer is FABIS and USDA-ID are the only way to identify AHB. Defensive behavior could be spawned by skunks, bears, that chainsaw you just cut through the hive or the fire you lit under it.
    The local papers and TVs are looking for beekeeper comments. Telling them bees are kept secretly for years already just shakes the "hornets' nest"
    If you are asked why we need bees would you say to pollinate a third of our food?
    When someone says they are allergic to bees do you ask if they are allergic to other insects? or also have trouble breathing from other histamine generating events? or reduced their risk of dying from encounters with wasps, yellow jackets and hornets by getting desensitization treatments?
    Knowledge reinforced by testing could lead to better dialog with neighbors and news crews.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    ABK, :goodpost: Taking your words seriously convinces me that not only beekeepers should study the topic. Bees are a topic that effect just about everyone, and anyone who is affected by an issue should learn its basics.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    ABK writes:
    We have noticed in lobbying for beekeepers interests the past years that the media and law makers know nothing about bees.

    tecumseh:
    from time to time in my 50 years of keeping bees I have often thought the same thing about myself. I have heard others (Beneford Weaver for one) make a similar statement. no matter what the audience it is an educational process. you are in an unusual situation with the africanized bee now inhabiting the area. some (media + politicians) will play up this uncertainty for all the ink and political influence the subject will muster. others (again media + politicians) will make some attempt at educating the public and promoting regulations that insures some safety in a highly populated urban environment.
     
  9. Redcrane

    Redcrane New Member

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    I believe that any program that advances the cause of beekeeping is of benifit to all of us involved. However, the one year experience bothers me. If one lives in an urban area, how does one get that experience prior to certification? Am I missing something?
     
  10. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Florida Master Beekeeper Program requires one year experience with a licensed apiary. Beekeeper certification is to allow new and existing beekeepers in urban neighborhoods keep bees. There is no time requirement and Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association is lobbying to make it easier and legal to raise bees.