Urban Agriculture Business Information Bundle

Honey Bees

Honey bees can thrive anywhere there is enough nectar and pollen. The work involved in looking after them is minimal - checking hives regularly and extracting honey at the end of the season - although some specialized equipment and training should be considered. The reward can be more than 45 kg of honey from a single colony, as well as the important pollination services bees provide.

However, not all cities allow bees, so check your local bylaws. If beekeeping is permitted, be sure to consult the Bees Act of Ontario before establishing a colony. Among other things, this Act sets minimum distances and requires all beekeepers to register annually with the Provincial Apiarist.

In addition, keep in mind that some people react very badly to bee stings. Be sure to site the hive away from areas with lots of human activity to reduce the risk of stings. Providing honey bees with water may reduce the colony's need to gather water from a neighbouring pool, while surrounding a colony with barriers higher than five feet will ensure that the foraging honey bees must fly upwards and therefore above the heads of neighbours.

To prevent other honey bee colonies from aggressively robbing the honey stores of your colony, make the colony entrance smaller during times when there is very little nectar. If robbing takes place, your bees may display more defensive behaviours.

For more information on beekeeping, see:

The Ontario Beekeepers Association also produces an Ontario Beekeeping Manual, available by contacting info@ontariobee.com.

Associations
The Ontario Beekeeper's Association lists local bee clubs.

Courses
The University of Guelph's Office of Open Learning offers an Introductory Apiculture Course, while the Ontario Beekeepers' Association has introductory and more advanced courses

Treatment Recommendations
OMAFRA's 2010 Ontario Recommendations for Honey Bee Disease and Mite Control

OMAFRA's Small Hive Beetle

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca


Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 28 January 2011
Last Reviewed: 10 May 2011