Beekeeping is an excellent way to improve pollination for plants in backyard, community, and public gardens, and leads to better vegetable and fruit production. With proper management practices, beekeeping is safe in residential areas.
Steps to becoming an urban beekeeper
Step 1: Learn about beekeeping and review beekeeping guidelines
Please read and understand the municipal and provincial laws governing beekeeping, as well as best-practices around beekeeping. These rules, regulations, and guidelines help keep beekeeping safe, detail the beekeeper's responsibilities, and help keep bee hives healthy.
- Contact local beekeeping associations and online reference sites to better understand the responsibilities and current best practices around backyard beekeeping. The Capital Region Beekeepers Association is an excellent place to begin your search.
- Read the Oak Bay beekeeping bylaw
- Read the apiculture information on the Province's Animal Production Website
- Fill out the Application for Keeping Bees or Poultry
Step 2: Register the beehive with the Province of BC
All beehives must be registered with Province of British Columbia:
Step 3: Purchase and install hives, bees, and supporting equipment
Once you have a thorough understanding of how to keep bees safely, are compliant with local laws, and the bees are registered, you are all set to enjoy the benefits of urban beekeeping. Be sure to pay attention to required height, setback, and shielding requirements when installing the hives.
Reporting a Honey bee Swarm
Honey bees swarm from late April to early June, when about half of the bees in a hive leave with the queen to start a new colony. A swarm of honey bees is not dangerous, but many people are uncomfortable with a swarm near their home.
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.
Contact information for Vancouver Island apiary inspection can be found at the Ministry website.
The Province of British Columbia maintains an list of links for interested beekeepers on their website.