So your neighbours have a honeybees. Now what? Should you be worried? Will you get stung? Can expect more fruit on my trees? FAQs about the hive next door:
Are honeybees legal in the city?
Yes, honeybees are legal in Edmonton, though, they do need to be registered with the City and the Province. Here’s a link to the City of Edmonton’s Urban Beekeeping guidelines. Not from Edmonton? Try googling your city or town.
-Located at least 25m from public spaces (Parks, Churches, schools, etc).
-Located 3m from property line OR behind a 1.5m tall solid fence
-Up to 1 hive and 1 nuc (small hive) per site.
-Good management practices must be adhered to.
-Beekeepers must make their sites open to inspection by animal control
-Adjacent neighbours must be notified (permission is not required)
-Beekeeper must have received training or demonstrate sufficient knowledge
-Hives must be registered with the Province
Are honeybees dangerous?
Generally, honeybees are very docile and uninterested in doing anything but collecting nectar, pollen, and propolis (a sticky resin from plants). Though, the odds of being stung aren’t zero (they never were) you’re very unlikely to experience any problems. Generally, the only time honeybees sting is to defend their hive. Most bylaws mandate that hives needs to be at least 3m from the property line or separated by a 1.5m fence. With these guidelines in effect, it’s very unlikely that the hive will fell threatened.
Will there be lots of honeybees in my yard?
Probably not. Bees are efficient pollinators and forage over vast areas (up to 5km). Though you’ll probably have some visitors to your flowering plants (vegetables, perennials, fruit trees, etc.), it’s unlikely that you’ll notice a dramatic increase in bees. Worst case scenario; you may have some surplus fruit to give away in the Fall.
Is it true that honeybees are disappearing.
Honeybees are presently experiencing a lot of threats. New pests, diseases, and pesticides have decreased bee populations around the world.
I have heard about swarming. What is a Swarm?
A swarm is how honeybees reproduce themselves. When a hive runs out of room, the queen and half of the bees (with as much honey as they can consume) will leave in search of a new hive location. Though ‘swarming’ sounds scary, the bees are extra docile and concerned about finding a new move. Swarming bees will generally settle on a branch and wait for scouting bees to find a suitable home. When a home is located, the bees will leave the limb and fly to their new home. What to do if you see a Swarm.
Are Swarms Common?
No…and yes. With proper hive management, a beekeeper can ensure that there’s enough room within a hive. When done correctly and consistently, a beekeeper can prevent swarms from occurring. That being said, even without backyard bees, swarms do happen in the city. Each year dozens of swarms are reported; some from backyard hives but many from natural colonies located in the river valley.
Rhianna Hawk says
I know that, as you said, honeybees are generally quite docile and don’t pose a serious threat most of the time, but a feral group has built a hive in my daughter’s treehouse and I really want her to be able to safely play in there. The fact that bees are disappearing is a serious concern, for sure, and I want to find a way to make sure they are relocated rather than exterminated, so I’m planning to get a removal service if I can find one in my area. It’s important to be respectful to nature and her inhabitants, even if they set up shop in an inconvenient place.
Dustin Bajer says
Hello Rhianna, can you describe the bees that moved into your daughters’ tree house? Are the big and fussy? Small and smooth? How many are coming and going at one time, and can you physically see and describe the hive.
Greg Mover says
Discovering that honeybees had moved into my property was exciting and intimidating. But, knowing the importance of honeybees for our ecosystem, I wanted to handle the situation responsibly. So I contacted local beekeeping associations and found a nearby beekeeper willing to help.