Urban beekeeping and licensing
Beekeeping is a successful and growing hobby in Calgary. The City of Calgary provides regulation and licensing for urban beekeeping. This helps address issues and create solutions for bees, beekeepers and neighbours.
Support native bee populations
Did you know? Keeping honey bees does not support native bee populations.
Applying to licence your colony
To apply for a beekeeping licence, an approved training course must be completed first. Then you will need to apply for a licence for each property you keep bees on in Calgary. The course and application can be found below.
Prepare your application
Once you have completed the required training, prepare the following prior to your application:
- Proof of completion of an approved training course or proof that you were a beekeeper prior to Jan. 1, 2022.
- Accepted proof of beekeeping prior to Jan. 1, 2022 includes completion of training prior to 2022 or receipts for bees or beekeeping equipment dated before Jan. 1, 2022.
- You will be instructed to upload a PDF of your proof at the end of your licence application.
- Please note: The Calgary and District Beekeepers Association provides the only approved training at this time.
- Proof of ownership of the property where the bee colony is being kept or proof of consent of the property’s owner.
- Signed consent from the property owner is required if you are not listed as the property owner on title.
- You will be instructed to upload the signed consent letter in the last step of this application (if required).
- If the beekeeper is under the age of 18, an adult will need to apply on their behalf.
- A site plan (a simple overhead view/drawing of where you plan to place your beehive(s) in relation to buildings/fences/neighbours)
- You will be instructed to upload a PDF of your site plan at the end of your licence application.
- Your address (where the colony will be located)
- Details of where the hive(s) will be placed including the location and direction of the hive entrance(s)
- The number of hives you would like to keep on the property
- A signed declaration form that you can download here.
The licensing regulations ensure new beekeepers are properly trained and adhere to commonly accepted beekeeping practices that prevent potential community issues, and that any neighbouring concerns are addressed.
Ensure you have all of this information ready before you apply. Incomplete applications will be closed and not processed.
Calgarians already keeping bees are asked to register their colonies with The City of Calgary through the licensing program.
Beekeepers in Alberta also need to register (for free) with the province. This needs to be submitted by June 30 of each year.
Through regulation and licensing of the growing hobby of urban beekeeping, The City of Calgary can help address any problems and create solutions for the benefit of bees, keepers and their neighbours.
The City of Calgary bee licensing program has been created based on what has been working locally, expert perspectives, and what the licensing will regulate.
Urban bee licensing is regulated under section 4 of the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw.
Licence or permit holders must:
- Have proof of ownership of the property where the livestock is kept (or proof of consent of the property’s owner).
- Have proof of completion of any training or mentoring.
- Keep all housing consistent with what was approved in the application for the licence (and in good repair).
- Not keep more than two colonies without approval by The City of Calgary.
- Must notify the City of Calgary if the bee colony is being relocated or moved.
- Honey selling or distribution must adhere to municipal, provincial and federal legislation.
Urban livestock licensing ensures proper housing and care conditions are met for bees, and that any neighbouring concerns are addressed. Report concerns or direct questions to 311.
A licence or permit holder must not keep more than two (2) bee colonies without approval of the Director except that the licence or permit holder may keep more than two (2) bee colonies for a one month period of time when splitting an existing colony for hive management.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will having more honey bee hives in the city have an effect on native bees and the competition for their food/pollen source?
It’s important to note that honey bees and native bees are distinct kinds of bees. Research is currently being conducted to determine if honey bees compete with native bees for food sources. Learn more about how you can support native bees.
Only honey bee hives need to be licensed in the City of Calgary.