One of the things I love most about beekeeping is complexity of it. There is always more to learn, between queen rearing, honey production, pollination services, and bee breeding you could spend a lifetime trying to master any and all of these niches. This felt especially true this September when I journeyed up to UC Davis to attend the second ever, California Master Beekeeping Program.


Out along a dusty dirt road on the outskirts of Davis, CA you find the El Niño Bee Lab, and the Häagen Daz Honey Bee Haven. The Haven is an outdoor museum that teaches about local pollinators as well as Honey Bees, while providing them all with a variety floral resources. It’s a really peaceful place to talk a stroll, try and spot some native pollinators and take in the sights of the many flowers blooming around you. Approximately 100 feet away is the El Niño Bee Lab. with some of their hives arranged behind the lab.


The experience of meeting other beekeepers from all across the States, and learning up to date scientific beekeeping practices was incredible. The course is taught by Bernardo Niño, who is a wealth of knowledge and experience. We went over the material we were expected to know for the written test, and the beekeeping practices we should be comfortable demonstrating on their hives, and we got started.


I am proud to say that I passed both tests with very high scores and now hold the title of Apprentice level Master Beekeeper. The knowledge I gained from this experience will help me in my approach toward honey bees during live removals, as well as my practices when rehabilitating these relocated hives. I am extremely grateful that UC Davis provides this course and I am excited to progress to the next level of Master Beekeeper.