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Where’s the Honey? Master Beekeeper Courses for 2012

Everett, Wash. — To help expand the number of local honey producers, Washington State University Snohomish County Extension and Beez Neez Apiary Supply team up each year to sponsor the popular apprentice-level course in the Master Beekeeper Program. The five-week course provides a thorough introduction to beekeeping for novice beekeepers as well as a comprehensive refresher course for experienced apiculturists.

Honey. Photo by Scott Bauer; courtesy USDA ARS. Click image for high resolution version; keepphoto credit intact.
Honey. Photo by Scott Bauer; courtesy USDA ARS. Click image for high resolution version; keep photo credit intact.

Designed to build basic beekeeping skills, topics to be covered include bee biology, equipment, seasonal management requirements, identification, management of pests and diseases, as well as honey harvest. The overall focus will hone in on the unique challenges and benefits to beekeeping in the Pacific Northwest. A workshop manual complements the lectures. Participants completing the five-week course and passing the optional Washington State Apprentice Beekeeper level exam (open book test) will receive a certificate towards the Journey and Master Beekeeper levels of training.

Each session will be taught by local beekeeping professionals, WSU Snohomish County Extension entomologist Dave Pehling, and Jim Tunnell, owner of Beez Neez Apiary in Snohomish. The first session starts Monday evenings, January 9 through February 13, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in McCollum Park at WSU Snohomish County Extension’s Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th St. SE in Everett. The five-week course repeats Monday, February 27 through March 26, 2012.

Class size is limited and always fills quickly.There are just a few seats left for the January series. The cost for the five-week course is $70 per person. Register online at or for the March sessions. You can also download the registration form at and mail it with your check. For registration information, contact Karie Christensen at (425) 357-6039 or e-mail For more information on the course, contact Dave Pehling,, (425) 357-6019.

Two FDA Import Alerts for honey, both issued in October 2011 (#36-04 and #36-01, point to an ongoing problem with the U.S. honey supply: an increasing amount of imported honey is contaminated with prohibited antibiotics and/or adulterated with corn or cane sugars. U.S. honey production has been declining for the last twenty years while imports have increased to fill consumer demand. According to the USDA, 2010 honey imports increased to over 251 million pounds while U.S. production had declined to 175 million pounds ( First identified as a problem over a decade ago, adulterated import honey is becoming a bigger problem each year.