Honey bee pests, diseases and poisoning exam feedback

In March this year I took the British Beekeeper Association’s Module 3 Honey bee Pests, Diseases and Poisoning exam. I was lucky enough to pass, but still asked for feedback as the examiners always give titbits of information I’ve never come across before.

Here it is in pdf format – Module 3 feedback – includes ideal answers on the lifecycle and damage caused by acarine and amoeba, seven integrated varroa management methods that could be used to combat varroosis and the characteristic signs of EFB and AFB.

Like last year, the examiner’s comments come from Margaret Thomas, an incredibly experienced beekeeper who has been keeping bees since 1973.

I feel a bit embarrassed about some of the answers I gave in the exam. I found remembering the latin names (and even all the common names!) of the multitude of bacterial infections, viruses, spore forming organisms, cyst forming organisms, pests and parasites that prey on honey bees very tricky. Looking back through my answers, I’m not sure I deserved to pass –  but I’m not going to ask for the pass to be taken away!

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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30 Responses to Honey bee pests, diseases and poisoning exam feedback

  1. Jonathan Harding says:

    Very many congratulations for passing the exam,and the sharing of your marked paper has helped all of us,well done.


  2. Congrats and really a great system where they give you feedback. One of our hives has EFB so I read your answers and the feedback with interest. Our apiarist will have us using OTC which I see isn’t the preferred method in the UK.


  3. Well done – I never knew you could sit exams in beekeeping!


    • Emily Heath says:

      Oh yes, the British Beekeepers Association run all sorts of exams – practical and written. The more advanced practical ones are extremely hard to pass, and if someone passes all the advanced written and practical exams they become a ‘Master Beekeeper’.


  4. theresagreen says:

    Well done Emily, sounds like you’re on track to qualify as a Master Bee-doctor! I had no idea the poor things were potentially subject to so many forms of attack! Are wild bees as vulnerable?


    • Emily Heath says:

      Hi Theresa,
      The varroa mite only preys on honey bees, but there are several other diseases and parasites that attack bumbles and solitary bees. As most bumbles are ground nesters, they are particularly vulnerable to large mammals too, like foxes and badgers, which like to smell their nests out and dig them up for food.


  5. Barny Henderson says:

    Congratulations Emily. I think that Module 3 is the hardest of all the exams so you should be very pleased to have passed it. It certainly helps when studying some of the other modules. Thank you for being brave enough to share your feedback I am sure that there will be many others who benefit from looking at that. It does show how pedantic the examiners are. For example SectionA Q3 about preventing mice from entering. They encourage a one word or short phrase answer so I would have thought that “Mouseguard” was perfectly acceptable but apprently not. Writing about the signs of AFB, you mentioned black scales that cannot be removed lying on the side of the cells. Apparently that it not sufficient for them; you have to mention that they are on the *bottom* side of the cells. I have always thought that these exams are marked very harshly but I have always been too tight-fisted to pay for the feedback.
    Well Done. Which module is next?


    • Emily Heath says:

      Thanks Barny! I’m quite interested in doing the biology module, but that looks incredibly hard to me, and would require learning even more latin names. I’m busy planning my wedding in May next year, so may take a break from the exams for a while! Have you done all the modules?


      • Barny Henderson says:

        Yes, the biology exam is difficult but absolutely fascinating and I am sure it will transform your understanding of bees. It also helps with the queen tearing module. I took my last module in March and it feels great. I am sure that you will be there soon.


  6. Congratulations,I think you are very brave facing up to what you wrote during an exam! I learned a lot from your revision notes and I feel it will be an excellent grounding if I ever decide to keep bees. (Michael keeps telling me “my bees” are in hive number 20 now.)


  7. Wendy says:

    Congratulations on passing the exam, Emily. Having this knowledge and confidence when it comes to identifying bee diseases is invaluable.


  8. disperser says:

    Congratulations are in order, I see. Well done (despite your doubts).


  9. Excellent Emily. These exams are on my to-do list. I will be on here a lot in the future. In the meantime I have launched some Talking With Bees Bristol Honey. Just a small venture to pay for this hobby!


  10. Hi Emily,
    I’ve just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! There are quite a few steps to do to accept the award and they can be found on my blog post here:
    If you decide to accept the award, just follow these steps. If not, just know that your blog is one of my favorites and has inspired me greatly.

    ~The Homesteading Hippy


  11. Alex Jones says:

    Congratulations on your exam success, I have a hard time remembering various names for species too.


  12. helenatnabend says:

    Reblogged this on The House at Nab End.


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