Urban beekeeping is an excellent way to increase pollination for plants. With good management practices, beekeeping is a safe activity and is allowed within Whitehorse on properties that are zoned AG-Agriculture, RC1-Country Residential 1, and RC2-Country Residential 2, as well as at the Downtown community garden. Apiaries (hives) are a provision of "hobby agriculture" in the City's Zoning Bylaw.
Will the Regulations Change?
Potential changes to the City's beekeeping regulations were identified in the 2020 Local Food & Urban Agriculture Study.
Reporting a Honey Bee Swarm
Honey bees can occasionally swarm between late April and early June. When a swarm occurs, about half of the bees in a hive will leave with the queen to start a new colony. Typically, the swarm will rest for a short period of time within several metres from the original hive before relocating to find a more permanent location. A swarm of honey bees is not typically dangerous, but can make people feel uncomfortable.
If you see a swarm of honey bees, contact a local beekeeper to assist you, and ideally include a photo in your email. There are many kinds of wild and domesticated bees found in Yukon; check resources online to confirm that you are dealing with honey bees. Swarms can relocate quickly, so it is important to report a swarm right away.
If you keep honey bees on your property, consider installing electric fencing, particularly in areas with high incidence of wildlife encounters:
- Government of Yukon booklet: Reducing Wildlife Conflict with Electric Fencing: A Beginner's Guide
- WildWise web page on electric fencing