The Concept of being learned in beekeeping and reducing the burden of inspections is a Good Idea. BUT CEUs is NOT a good idea. It might just be a mis-use of the nomenclature, BUT we need to clear it up decisively. CEUs create a burden on the beekeeping world that we do not need. The courses have to be qualified by some licensing authority, the attendance tracked and reported and it will create more of a problem than a solution. The bureaucracy of CEU doesn't happen for free for anyone. Call it and keep it something else. Like Inspection Opt-out Form. Where the applicant for the bee license can opt out of an inspection if they have less tn XX hives JUST BY CHECKING a box saying they have spent time learning about beekeeping. There should be no more qualification of how where when why the applicant spent time learning. (YouTube, a book a seminar attending something, being mentored, it doesn't matter) Putting a CEU system in place is a bureaucracy that is too much a burden.
If anything, our leaders should seek inspection reform to make us on par with other animal inspection policies. The poultry division of the Department of agriculture for example; they don't inspect every backyard chicken keeper. They are only available for problems that reach a certain magnitude. What about rabbits or cats or dogs? The backyard beekeeper is going to be more responsible than any of these "keepers" or they simply wont bee a beekeepers. Can our leaders suggest to the Department of Agriculture that the burden be reduced to only bee problems of a certain magnitude. Like a sudden dead out of 5 hives or more. (The poultry inspectors do not take interest unless its like 12 dead birds or more)
State inspectors should encourage all beekeepers to call the State in when they feel something is wrong with their bees. Today we have phones with cameras and internet access. Beekeepers have adapted to technology and can now send closeup pictures to inspectors before they make a trip out. Better use of our communication technology would increase the efficiency and may require less inspectors to be hired.
Inspectors could better use their time inspecting bees crossing our border. Let the beekeeper learn at their pace and reach a level of knowledge that is comfortable and affordable to them.
Bees are not chickens. Chickens do not move into little holes in the neighbor's house. Chickens do not sting. I am so grateful to be able to keep bees in my tiny backyard and I want to be able to keep doing that safely, for my bees and myself and my neighbors. If people are going to be keeping boxes of tens of thousands of stinging insects in their backyards, then I think they should be required have a certain level of knowledge about how to so it safely and responsibly.
I am also thankful that the state upholds my right to keep bees when a neighbor complains about something that they are ignorant about. If the state has no inspections or required education for beekeepers, should they still come to our defense when our neighbors complain?
I also encourage anyone interested in this topic to contact your apiary inspector or chief inspector Dave Westervelt.