- Thinking of starting beekeeping in southern Alberta? Here are a few important first steps, before you start looking for bees and equipment:
* Check out regulatory requirements for all levels of government that apply to bees in your area.
* Contact the Provincial Apiculturist Dr. Medhat Nasr for registration information.
* Contact Club members or attend the next scheduled Club meeting.
* Take a beekeeping course (See Courses under Coming Events Section).
* Read lots and visit as many websites as you can! There’s a vast amount of beekeeping information out there and the more you read the better you will understand the joys and complexities of bees. (See the “Beekeeping Resources” section on this website to get you started!)
Below is a summary of local, provincial and federal government regulations for area beekeepers:
Local and municipal: The City of Calgary has no specific by-laws about bees and no permit is required to keep bees as a hobby. The City has a set of guidelines, but they defer to Alberta Agriculture regulations. Bylaw Enforcement will respond to complaints, which are usually related to swarms or wasps (see “Swarm Catchers”). Commercial beekeeping requires a business license. Rules and regulations about bees vary in communities around Calgary. Check local bylaws.
Provincial: Anyone who keeps bees or owns unused hives must register with Alberta Agriculture every year by June 30. Registration is FREE. (In Alberta, the Bee Year is July 1 to June 30. This varies in other provinces.)
The Provincial Apiculturist for Alberta is Dr. Medhat Nasr, whose department is the epicenter of regulation (Medhat.Nasr@gov.ab.ca). They also regulate the distribution of honey through selected farmers' markets, and farm gate sales. Alberta Agriculture is very involved with beekeeping throughout the province. You can read the Alberta Bee Act and Regulations, which are available as 2 downloadable documents. (Bee Acts and Regulations).
Federal: Beyond farmers' markets and farm gates sales, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulates the distribution of honey into Canada's food supply. CFIA regulates the Import, Export and Interprovincial movement of honey products including product intended for exhibition and competitions.
Urban Beekeeping information from "HoneyBee.com"