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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. Here is a list of OMAFRA Apiary Inspectors.
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:
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 online honey bee mortality reporting form. 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:
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 in their Annual Colony Loss Reports.
Additional information about the estimated number of beekeepers, honey bee colonies, the production and value of honey and horticultural statistics can be found below:
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 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.
The Ask OMAFRA Bees Portal, an online platform which allows beekeepers access to bee related services, has been launched! Beekeepers are now able to use the online portal for faster and convenient service to renew their honey bee registrations, apply for permits, view current year inspection reports and active permits, and track the status of applications.
Click the link above for more information about the Ask OMAFRA Bees Portal, including step-by-step guides and instructions.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300