New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 4)

Gain the skills to operate as a Leading Hand in a commercial operation or to run your own commercial operation. This programme is for people who are single source, comb, or medical grade manuka honey producers, pollination service providers or self-marketing producers. Courses include Plants; Pollination and Nutrition; Bee Diseases and Management Plans; Seasonal Management and Food Safety; Beehive Products; and analysing management plans.

For domestic students, our August 2022 intake will be funded until 31 December 2022 with the Government's Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) - this means your tuition fees until December are free and you'll just have to cover any additional/living costs.

About the programme

Gain the skills and knowledge to manage a viable apiculture business. 

This programme will enable you to operate as a Leading Hand in a commercial operation or to run your own commercial operation.

Offered through a unique blended delivery model, this qualification is for people who are single source, comb, or medical grade manuka honey producers, pollination service providers or self-marketing producers. You will gain the range of skills and knowledge needed to operate independently as beekeepers and will enjoy improved job performance. 

By successfully achieving both the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3) and New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 4), you will have completed the apprenticeship scheme endorsed by Apiculture NZ (the governing body for apiculture in New Zealand). Otago Polytechnic is the only polytechnic provider of this industry-recognised training pathway in New Zealand.  

This programme is taught online with block courses in a range of locations throughout New Zealand (see locations in What you study area below).

Block course locations 

  • Christchurch (National Trades Academy)
  • Cromwell, Central Otago (Bannockburn Road)
  • Dunedin (Momona Hall)
  • Gisborne (Eastwoodhill Arboretum)
  • Greytown (Kuranui College)
  • Hamilton (Fraser High School)
  • Orewa, North Auckland (Hibiscus Coast Community House)
  • Wakefield (Willowbank Heritage Centre)

Courses

Course name Description Credits

Plants, Pollination and Nutrition

Be introduced to the relationships between bees and flowering plants and the importance that plants play in providing food for bees. 

Indicative content 

  • Factors related to weather and seasons in terms of the way in which they influence flowering patterns and honey flows
  • Function of nectar and pollen in the flower
  • Flowering plants which are common sources of honey in terms of their features
  • Contribution of bees to pasture pollination in terms of their effect on meat and dairy production
  • Attributes which make bees good pollinators, and the crops they typically pollinate
  • Feed types for beehives and the situations in which they might be used
  • Seasonal calendar for feeding and nutritional tasks.

Learning outcomes 

At the successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Explain the relationship between flowering plants and bees and how it is influenced by weather.
  2. Describe the relationship between bees and arable and crop pollination
  3. Describe the nutritional requirements and feed types in relation to bees and beehives.
  4. Develop, implement and monitor a beehive nutritional management plan.
15

Bee Diseases and Management Plan

 

Learn how to recognise bee diseases, pests and disorders and manage these throughout the beekeeping season. 

Indicative content 

  • Identify exotic diseases and pests by physical appearance, damage caused and presence in the hive
  • Implications for disease, disorder and pest control and notification requirements
  • Varroa treatments and the timing of their application and removal from the apiary
  • Determine when American foulbrood (AFB) disease checks and sampling will be undertaken
  • Use records, seasonal outcomes and industry references to recommend changes to a disease management plan.

Learning outcomes 

At the successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe exotic bees and the implications of their diseases or disorders.
  2. Describe the management practices for an exotic bee and the impact of an exotic incursion on the New Zealand beekeeping industry.
  3. Develop, implement and monitor a bee disease management plan.
 15

Seasonal Management and Food Safety

 

Develop a seasonal management plan for the operation of apiaries of beehives and to implement this plan over a beekeeping season. 

Indicative content 

  • Assess food stores against spring requirements and determine the needs of beehives
  • Check beehives for disease, locate the queen bee and isolate with queen excluder
  • Assess beehives to determine likelihood of swarming and suitability to divide hives to produce a nucleus hive or top hive
  • Workplace procedures to control or eliminate a food safety hazard at a critical control point.

Learning outcomes 

At the successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Develop a seasonal beehive management plan to address seasonal operations within an apiary.
  2. Implement and monitor beehive management operations in accordance with the management plan.
  3. Implement and monitor food safety procedures in an apiculture operation.
15 

Beehive Product Production and Business Strategy

 

Understand the production and processing of a range of beehive products, and analyse an apiculture business to develop a business strategy for a new market. 

Indicative content 

  • Chemical composition and physical properties of honey
  • Factors affecting honey quality
  • Factors used to measure honey quality
  • Understanding granulation, homogenisation, creaming process
  • Types of honey
  • Composition, properties, factors affecting quality, production and marketing of a range of beehive products
  • procedures to minimise product contamination from humans with contagious disease
  • Different types of contaminants present while harvesting honey and in a honey extraction plant
  • Management plans and seasonal calendars
  • Analyse and evaluate beehive management and pest and disease management plans for agriculture business
  • Summarise findings and recommendations for improvement and provide a report. 

Learning outcomes 

At the successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the properties and types of honey, the process of honey production and factors affecting honey quality.
  2. Describe the properties and production of beehive products other than honey.
  3. Describe procedures to minimise the risk of product contamination when producing honey.
  4. Research the operation of an apiculture business to determine goals and objectives for the business
  5. Analyse beehive management and pest and disease management plans, and recommend improvements.
 15

Further study options

Graduates of this programme can further their learning with the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 4) (Queen Bee Rearing) or other qualifications in small business management. 

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.