We allow honey beekeeping in community gardens and qualifying residential and commercial properties. We provide guidelines to help residents keep safe and formalize beekeepers' responsibilities.
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While honey beekeeping in an urban setting can be a powerful way to connect to the natural environment and our food system, misinformation about the benefits and impacts of urban honey beekeeping is common.
If you are interested in becoming an urban honey beekeeper, review the myths and facts before deciding if this is the right activity for you.
If you are ready to start keeping honeybees in Vancouver, you need to follow three steps before setting up your apiary (bee yard):
Honeybee health and safety
Any concerns regarding the health of your honeybee colony such as pest and disease management should be reported to a Provincial Apiary Inspector, who can provide guidance on management and arrange for a hive inspection if necessary.
Swarming is the natural process by which one honeybee colony splits into two (a form of reproduction), and it typically takes place in the spring.
When swarming occurs, a large number of bees leave their hive in a close formation (the swarm), which typically stops at a branch or other perch while scout bees fly further afield to search for a new home.
Urban honey beekeepers do their best to manage hives to prevent swarming, but sometimes swarms still occur.
What to do if you come across a swarm
If you come across a bee swarm, you may be alarmed by the number of bees in your proximity.
First, remain calm and remember that in most circumstances, a swarm of honey bees is not dangerous.
Swarming honeybees are generally docile and not likely to sting as they have fed prior to swarming and are not defending their nest.
Reporting a swarm
Report a swarm to the Richmond Beekeepers Association External website, opens in new tab at firstname.lastname@example.org.They will quickly contact a beekeeper who may be available to safely remove the swarm.
Include any details you have about the swarm, such as:
- Time of day
- How long the swarm has been at this location
- Any challenges with access
- Supporting bees and butterflies in your garden
- Pesticide-free lawns and gardens
- Vancouver’s Biodiversity Strategy
- Government of BC: Apiculture External website, opens in new tab
- Government of BC: Food for Bees Initiative External website, opens in new tab
- Bee City Canada External website, opens in new tab
- Miel Montreal - Code for Urban Apiculture External website, opens in new tab
- Hives for Humanity External website, opens in new tab
- Richmond Beekeepers Association External website, opens in new tab
- Pollinator Partnership External website, opens in new tab