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.


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:

Insecticide Concerns

A honey bee incident is defined as a typical or unusual effects observed in a honey bee colony reported by a beekeeper. These incidents are suspected by the beekeeper to be related to pesticide exposure and are often characterized by bee mortality or sub-lethal effects on colonies.

In Ontario, honey bee incidents should be reported to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency by contacting Health Canada at 519-826-2985. More information about the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency Incident Reporting Program and how to report suspected incidents is available on the Health Canada website. For more information, please see the links below:

Small Hive Beetle Management Strategy

As the status and presence of small hive beetle (SHB) is evolving in Ontario, the province is transitioning from eradication to a management strategy. With input from the beekeeping industry, Ontario has developed a Small Hive Beetle Management Strategy for 2016 with the following objectives:

  1. Minimize the impact of SHB to beekeepers
  2. Mitigate the spread of SHB in Ontario
  3. Minimize disruption of economic activity for beekeepers and growers who require pollination services

The ministry has developed a public facing map that summarizes the number of cases of SHB since January 1, 2015 at the municipality level. This map allows the ministry to publically report on the number of positive SHB-findings in Ontario. Beekeepers may also reference this map to mitigate the risk associated with future honey bee colony movement. To access the small hive beetle map, please click on the link below and read the terms of use:

Small Hive Beetle

Information and 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.

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.

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: 24 June 2016