Keeping bees in Edmonton is controlled and enforced under the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw, No. 13145. The following guidelines will help ensure that urban beekeeping is a positive addition to the community by providing best practices and responsible regulations to minimize impact on surrounding neighbours.
- Hives may only be located in the rear yard of a property
- Sites must be located at least 25 metres away from any public place, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, churches or schools
- Hive entrances must be directed away from adjacent residential properties
- Hives should be located at least three metres from all property lines where there is an adjacent neighbour, unless the property is separated from the adjacent neighbour by a solid fence or vegetative hedge at least 1.5 metres high
Number and Size of Hives
- Each approved property shall house one active hive consisting of a bottom board and hive cover with a maximum of six supers
- Each Site may keep a nucleus (Nuc) hive to provide options for good animal husbandry and hive management
- Applicants who have been in the program for at least two years in good standing may apply to have a second hive to firstname.lastname@example.org with a revised site plan indicating the placement of their second hive
Standard of Care
Every beekeeper shall adhere to good management and husbandry practices and maintain bees in such a condition so as to prevent swarming, aggressive behaviours and disease. Animal Control must be notified of any swarms and/or disease and the steps taken to rectify the issue.
Approved beekeeping site owners shall make themselves and the hive(s) available for inspection on reasonable request of Animal Control Peace Officers.
Prior to submitting an application, every beekeeping applicant must notify all immediately surrounding neighbours, including those attached to their property or across an alleyway, in writing, of their intent to keep bees. This requirement is a notification to neighbours*, not a request for permission. Your neighbours have two weeks to respond to the City of Edmonton with any concerns after receiving the letter.
Please print off the required number of copies of neighbour notification letters. Submit all letters as part of your application. Please note the date and addresses on copies of the letters that were given out in your application. We do not require that the letters be signed. However, copies of the letters you sent with the date and address indicated on the letter need to be submitted with your online application.
Please do not submit your online application until you have given your neighbours two weeks to respond to the letter from the date it was sent. If you do not submit all required notification letters as a part of your online application, those who did not receive the letter will be given another two weeks to respond so please double check that you have notified all the required properties.
*Neighbours are defined as the owner or tenant of each property abutting the applicant’s property, including those who live across an alleyway, but not across a street. In the case where neighbouring properties are apartment buildings or businesses, building managers and business owners are to receive the notification letter.
Permission From The Property Owner
If you are not the owner of the property on which you plan to keep bees, please include a signed letter of permission from the property owner.
Each approved beekeeper and the property owner and/or a resident of the site must complete a beekeeping course from an accepted organization/association.
Beekeepers in their first year are recommended to have the support and assistance of an experienced beekeeper.
Should Animal Control find a site, hive or beekeeper to be unsuitable at any time, the permission may be revoked and the site owner shall work with Animal Control to relocate the hive and bees to a location outside the City of Edmonton. All costs and associated expenditures related to the removal are the sole responsibility of the site or property owner. Permission can be revoked due to documentation of medical concerns from residents of neighbouring properties.
Pursuant to the Alberta Bee Act, all beekeepers shall register with the provincial Apiculturist and shall comply with the Bee Act wherever required.
Application Requirements and Process
All interested beekeepers must submit an online application outlining the following requirements:
- Name, address, and contact information for site owner
- Confirmation of location of hive in relation to the property (site drawing or photo evidence of compliance with setback requirements)
- Proof of success in an accepted beekeeping course
- Beekeepers in their first year are recommended to have the support and assistance of an experienced beekeeper
- Proof (and date) that all immediately surrounding neighbours, including those separated by an alleyway, have been informed of the applicant’s intention to keep bees on site
- Your PID number
Animal Control Peace Officers will respond to all complaints and initiate investigations when warranted. Failing to comply with the terms and conditions of an Urban Beekeeping Licence may result in a fine of $100, or a licence being revoked. Keeping bees without a licence will result in a $500 fine. Honey production is for self-consumption. No sale of honey and bee products is permitted.
All public complaints shall be directed through 311; this reporting approach is consistent with the City of Edmonton bylaw complaint process. Failing to comply with the terms and conditions of an Urban Beekeeping Licence may result in a fine of $100, or a licence being revoked. Keeping bees without a licence will result in a $500 fine.