Apiculture


Table of Contents


Regulation of the Beekeeping Industry

In Ontario, we're working to support healthy, thriving populations of pollinators that in turn support a strong, successful agri-food sector and a healthy environment. For more information on the province's pollinator health strategy, please click here.

The Ontario Bees Act is the legislation that regulates beekeeping in Ontario. Its main purpose is to protect the health of honey bees, particularly from pests and diseases. The act requires that anyone who owns or is in possession of honey bees to register with the Apiary Inspection Program.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Apiary Program conducts field inspections for the presence of honey bee diseases and pests, provides advisory and issues permits to beekeepers. For a list of OMAFRA Apiary Inspectors, please click here.

In addition, the Apiary Program is actively engaged in monitoring honey bee health across Ontario, and conducting surveys of beekeeper management practices, overwinter losses and the tracking of reported honey bee health concerns. Please see the links below for an overview of the beekeeping regulations in Ontario, for direct links to the Ontario Bees Act and Regulation, for Regulations that affect the packaging of honey under the Food Safety and Quality Act and for information related to registration, permitting and shipping of honey bees.

Infosheets

The Apiary Program has compiled a number of resources for beekeepers specifically focused on honey bee pests and diseases. Like all other animals, honey bees are susceptible to pests and diseases which may impact the health of a honey bee colony with effects ranging from minor stress to the death of the colony. Some of these pests and diseases are quite common while others are rarely encountered. It is important for beekeepers to be aware, learn to identify them and effectively manage pests and diseases to maintain healthy colonies. For information on honey bee pests and disease, including American Foulbrood, Varroa mites and small hive beetle, please see the links below:

American Foulbrood

Varroa destructor mites

Small Hive Beetle

Additional information about best management practices for beekeepers in advance of winter, wildlife damage, and the relationship between bees, bears and beekeepers, please see the links below:

Reporting Abnormal Bee Mortality

Are you a beekeeper who has experienced abnormal honey bee mortality? An abnormal honey bee mortality incident is the acute death of large numbers of managed honey bees. While some degree of mortality is expected in any beekeeping operation, a significant increase in honey bee mortality over a short period of time may suggest a problem with the colony. Honey bee deaths may be due to a number of causes including starvation, presence of pests and diseases, weather conditions and/or pesticide exposure.

How do I Report Abnormal Honey Bee Mortality Incidents?

To report an abnormal honey bee mortality incident, please contact the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affair's Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC). You may call the AICC directly at 1-877-424-1300 or fill out the reporting form online. Please report abnormal honey bee mortality as soon as the issue is observed. Reporting delays will reduce the likelihood of an apiary inspection.

For more information, please see the links below:

Reports

The Apiary Program is actively engaged in monitoring honey bee health across Ontario, and conducting surveys of beekeeper management practices, overwinter losses and the tracking of reported honey bee health concerns. This information is compiled into two types of reports, the Provincial Apiarist Report (annually) and the Ontario Apiculture Winter Loss Report.

Provincial Apiarist Reports

Apiculture Winter Loss Report*

*Note: The Ontario Apiculture Winter Loss Report has only been published in recent years where high overwinter honey bee mortality was report. Since 2007, the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) has compiled and published statistics for Canadian honey bee colony losses. These statistics provide an ongoing picture of the health of apiculture in Canada and are available online.

Additional information about the estimated number of beekeepers, honey bee colonies, the production and value of honey and horticultural statistics can be found below:

Resources and Services

Insurance and Financial Services

A new bee mortality production insurance plan helps to protect farmers in Ontario from losses caused by factors beyond their control, and covers colony losses caused by insured perils that occur during the overwinter period. For eligibility requirements and more information on the bee mortality plan, visit Agricorp's website. Beekeepers can also access AgriStability, AgriInvest and the Self-Directed Risk Management Program. To explore your options, contact Agricorp.

Bee Yard Registration

If you need help locating a parcel of land to register your bee yard, please visit AgMaps Geographic Information Portal. The Agricultural Information Atlas is an interactive online application that allows you to create custom maps and find agricultural information for Ontario. It combines agricultural data on soils and drainage, as well as data layers from other Government of Ontario ministries.

Organic Certification

Organic apiculture in Canada is governed by the Canadian Organic Standards, which outlines the principles and practices of organic management. The standard, along with the accompanying Permitted Substances List, dictate what practices and substances can be used in organic production in Canada. If you are interested in pursuing organic certification, please consult the Government of Canada regulations. For more information, please see: Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada

Apiculture Business Resources

There are a number of businesses servicing the apiculture industry in Ontario. This includes the sale of honey bee queens, nucleus and full-size colonies, beekeeping equipment and agricultural pollination. Please note that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs does not endorse any particular beekeeping suppliers or business. The honey bee queen, nucleus and colony producers and the beekeeping supplies listed below are businesses who have agreed to have their information displayed on this website. More information on beekeeping services available in Ontario may be accessed through the Ontario Beekeepers' Association.

Online Registration Renewals - Ask OMAFRA Portal

Coming soon!

The Ask OMAFRA Portal, an online platform which allows you access to bee related services, is coming this Fall 2017. Beekeepers will be able to use the online portal for faster and convenient service to renew their honey bee registrations for the 2018 season, apply for permits, view application statuses and current year inspection reports and permits.

Please refer back to this website for updates and more information soon, including step-by-step instructions on how to:

  1. View and access the Ask OMAFRA Portal.
  2. Navigate the Ask OMAFRA Portal landing page.
  3. Access the Bees Portal section of Ask OMAFRA Portal.
  4. Navigate the sections within the Bees Portal.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Wael Haddad - Apiary Data Coordinator/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 23 January 2007
Last Reviewed: 2 October 2017