The Oregon State University Master Beekeeper Program will hold its first Apprentice classroom training program in Klamath Falls starting 7 February 2014.

This program is intended to promote awareness of honey bees and beekeeping. It is the counterpart of the Master Gardener program, and is fully supported by the Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association.

The OSU Oregon Master Beekeeper Program is a three level course: Apprentice, Journey, and Master. This new program is in its third year and is currently only offering the Apprentice and Journey level. The Master level is currently being developed.

The Apprentice level gives participants a solid understanding of beekeeping. The students attend an eight week program, with a total of 16 hours class room time. They will have at least four field experience days over the year with their mentors where they will practice what they have learned. Students do not need to own their own honey bee hives to participate, but it is encouraged and their mentors will be by their side every step of the way. Each student will receive a beekeeping book, First Lessons in Beekeeping, to help in their studies. They then have to pass an open book, unlimited time test, done at home and submitted via email to OSU Most of the questions are fill in the blank or multiple choice. The Apprentice level is designed for to be done in one year though it can be spread over two. Once done students will receive a certificate from the Oregon State University declaring them as a certified beekeeper. How fun can that "BEE"?

Interested persons can join by simply going to www.oregonmasterbeekeeper.org and sign up online. The program directors will match you with a mentor in your area. The cost is $100, which goes towards their study materials and helps OSU with honey bee research. You are learning and doing something good at the same time.

The apprentice class is being taught by Katharina Davitt, who currently is in the Journey level. She and Doug Youngberg, also in the Journey level, are currently the mentors for Klamath County. OSU hopes to have more mentors in the future.

The OSU Master Beekeeper Apprentice class will be held at the OSU Extension Office at 6923 Washburn Way, near the airport. It starts Friday, February 7th from 5-7pm, and runs each Friday for two hours thereafter until Friday, March 28th. Space is limited and registering online at www.oregonmasterbeekeeper.org is required prior to attending.

The Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association usually meets on the last Saturday of the month at the same location. More information about the club can be found at www.klamathbasinbeekeepers.org