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Keeping bees on your property

Beekeeper and bees

As part of their goal to help make Vancouver one of the world’s most sustainable cities, Council encourages beekeeping in urban areas.

Urban beekeeping is an excellent way to improve pollination for plants in backyard, community, and public gardens, which leads to better vegetable production.

With good management practices, beekeeping is completely safe in residential areas.

Steps to becoming an urban beekeeper

If you are interested in keeping bees in your yard, there are two steps you need to follow:

  1. Review the City's beekeeping guidelines.
  2. Register your beehive with the Province of BC.

Step 1: Review the City’s beekeeping guidelines

Before you decide to keep bees, read and understand the City’s guidelines.

These guidelines help keep beekeeping safe for residential areas, and explain your responsibilities as a beekeeper:

Step 2: Register your beehive with the Province of BC

Once you set up your beehives, you must register them with the Province of BC:

Have you found a bee swarm?

Remain calm and assess the situation. In most circumstances, a swarm of honey bees is not dangerous, but many people are uncomfortable with a swarm near their home.

Swarming honey bees are generally docile and not likely to sting as they have fed prior to swarming and are not defending their nest.

A honey bee can also be confused for other flying insects such as hornets or wasps that are more aggressive, but can be distinguished by their unique characteristics.

Honey bee

Hornet

To arrange for a swarm pick up, email the Richmond Beekeepers Association  at info@richmondbeekeepers.ca and they will quickly contact a beekeeper in the vicinity of the swarm from their membership list.

Please provide any details you have about the swarm, such as the time of day, how long the swarm has been at this location, height, and any challenges with access.

Report a bee colony concern

Regional Apiary Inspectors from the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Lands inspect beehives and colonies, and ensure that they are safe. If you have concerns, contact the Ministry directly.

The ministry will send staff out to investigate. There is no charge for an apiary inspection.

You can report a concern about a beehive or colony by contacting an apiary inspector.