Overview

Ontario beekeepers require a valid apiary permit to sell or give away (that is, transferring ownership) of live honey bees or used beekeeping equipment within Ontario.

Permits are issued by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Apiary Program. These permits help the ministry protect the health of honey bees, particularly from pests and diseases.

Regulatory requirements under the Ontario Bees Act

The Bees Act is the legislation that regulates beekeeping in Ontario. It protects the health of honey bees and includes requirements for selling or transferring ownership of honey bees and used beekeeping equipment in Ontario.

Types of permits

There are two types of permits to sell live bees (including full-sized colonies, queen bees, queen cells, nucleus colonies, packaged bees or brood frames) or used beekeeping equipment within Ontario from an Ontario beekeeper’s operation.

Selling Permit

Selling Permits are issued for the sale of honey bees or used beekeeping equipment.

Choose this permit if you plan to sell or transfer ownership of:

  • honey bees from one bee yard
  • used equipment

This permit type allows you to make multiple sales from the single bee yard that is specified on the permit.

Expiry

A Selling Permit is valid for one season and expires December 31 in the calendar year in which the permit was issued.

Queen and Nuc Permit

Queen and Nuc Permits are issued for the sale of honey bees only. This permit does not allow for used equipment sales.

Choose this permit if you have more than one yard and plan to sell honey bees from multiple yards within your operation.

This permit type allows you to make multiple sales from all your registered yards, unless otherwise specified on the permit.

Expiry

A Queen and Nuc Permit is valid for two seasons and expires December 31 of the following year the permit was issued.

Eligibility

To be issued a permit, a beekeeper must be in compliance with the Bees Act.

In addition, eligibility for a permit is based on:

  • beekeeper registration
  • inspection (to determine the pest/disease status of the yard or operation)
  • submission of past sales reports (if applicable)

Beekeeper registration

The permit applicant (seller) must hold a valid certificate of registration, issued under the Bees Act, from OMAFRA.

If you own or possess honey bees or beekeeping equipment, it is mandatory that you register:

  • yourself, as a beekeeper
  • your yard(s) where bees or used equipment reside

Learn how to register your beekeeping operation and obtain a certificate of registration.

Inspection

Inspection(s) by OMAFRA Apiary Inspectors are needed to determine the pest and disease status of a yard or operation before a permit can be issued.

The results of your inspection must not exceed the thresholds for pests and disease. The thresholds may change as Ontario’s honey bee pest and disease risks and profile evolve.

Note: you can sell from yards that have been confirmed positive for small hive beetle (SHB), but you cannot sell individual colonies that are SHB-positive.

Selling Permit

For a Selling Permit, you must have an OMAFRA Apiary Inspector conduct an inspection of the yard that your bees or used equipment are being sold from.

Pest/disease thresholds for the inspected bee yard:

  • has not been found positive for American foulbrood (AFB) within the previous two years
  • has no active European foulbrood (EFB) infection
  • there is no Pest or Disease Order in effect
  • the average varroa mite level is <2% per yard (five or fewer varroa mites found in a 300-bee sample using a standard alcohol wash)

Requirements for used beekeeping equipment:

  • is not showing signs of pest or disease presence (for example, AFB) at the time of inspection
  • does not originate from a yard found positive for AFB in the past two years

Queen and Nuc Permit

For a Queen and Nuc Permit, you must have an OMAFRA Apiary Inspector inspect some of the yards in your beekeeping operation.

Inspection requisites include:

  • a minimum of 50% of different bee yards in the operation must be inspected, up to a maximum of 10 different yards
  • the number of inspections needed is determined by the operation’s number of bee yards registered in the previous year or at the time of application for a first-time applicant
  • inspections conducted up to two years prior to an operation being issued a Queen and Nuc Permit are included in the inspection count
  • all inspection types that include brood nest inspections (for example, pollination, in-season mortality, general health, etc.) are used to meet the number of inspections needed to assess the pest and disease status of the applicant’s operation for the purpose of Queen and Nuc permitting

Pest/disease thresholds for inspected bee yards:

  • have not been found positive for American foulbrood (AFB) within the previous two years
  • have no active European foulbrood (EFB) infection
  • there is no Pest or Disease Order in effect
  • the average varroa mite level is <2% per yard (five or fewer varroa mites found in a 300-bee sample using a standard alcohol wash)
  • if pests and/or disease is found, the combined number of yards affected with a pest or disease must be <10% of the total number of yards in the operation

Submission of past sales reports

Every person who sells bees must report the sales in writing, within 30 days of the date of sale, to the Provincial Apiarist.

If you were issued a permit and then fail to report sales to the Provincial Apiarist, you may be denied a future permit.

Learn how to report honey bee sales.

How to get a permit

We recommend that you plan ahead and get your permit early – before the start of a new beekeeping season.

You must have a permit before you can sell or transfer ownership of any bees or used equipment.

Selling Permit

Follow these steps to request a permit:

  1. Register yourself and your bee yard with OMAFRA
  2. In the year that you intend to sell, contact your local Apiary Inspector to request an inspection for a Selling Permit

Queen and Nuc Permit

Apply for a permit online or by sending in an application form.

Deadline: apply by August 15 for the current year. Applications submitted after August 15 will be automatically processed for the next beekeeping season.

Online

Apply online with ONe-key through the Ontario Beekeeper Portal.

Applications submitted through the portal have the shortest processing delay.

Application form

  1. Register yourself and your bee yards with OMAFRA.
  2. Contact the Apiary Program at apiary@ontario.ca to request the application form.
  3. Complete the application form and submit it through one of the following manners:
    • email to apiary@ontario.ca
    • fax to 226-314-0983
    • mail to:
      Attn: Apiary Program
      Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
      Animal Health and Welfare Branch
      1 Stone Road West, 5th Floor NW
      Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2

After you request or apply for a permit

Selling Permit

An Apiary Inspector will confirm your registration status and review the pest and disease status of the yard you intend to sell from.

Once you contact an inspector to request a permit, an Apiary Inspector will:

  • confirm your registration status
  • schedule and conduct an inspection
  • review the pest and disease status of the yard you intend to sell from

The Apiary Inspector will issue the permit if all requirements are met.

The permit will specify:

  • the yard that you are permitted to sell from
  • what you have permission to sell — either used equipment or live honey bees
  • if there is a pest or disease finding under allowable established thresholds

Queen and Nuc Permit

After you apply:

  • the Provincial Apiarist will confirm your registration status
  • the number of inspections needed will be calculated
  • an Apiary Inspector will be assigned to schedule and conduct the necessary number of inspection(s)
  • the Provincial Apiarist will review the pest and disease status of your operation

The Provincial Apiarist will issue the permit if all requirements are met.

The permit will specify:

  • the yard(s) a beekeeper cannot sell from
  • the yard(s) where inspection resulted in the finding of a pest or disease under established thresholds

How to use a permit

Follow all requirements noted on the permit issued, including which yards can or cannot be sold from.

A selling beekeeper should provide a copy of their permit to the purchasing beekeeper when a sale is made. A purchasing beekeeper should request a copy of the selling beekeeper’s permit. This is a good practice that allows the buyer to know:

  • that they are purchasing bees from a registered beekeeper that has been inspected by the Ministry’s Apiary Program
  • the presence of pest and/or disease in the bee yard or operation the bees are coming from

Denied permits

A permit will not be issued if:

  • any of the permit eligibility requirements are not met
  • the beekeeper and/or yard is not registered with OMAFRA
  • thresholds for pests and disease have been exceeded
  • previous sales have not been reported to the Provincial Apiarist

If an Apiary Inspector or the Provincial Apiarist denies a permit, they will let you know why.

Denied due to registration or sales report

If a permit is denied due to registration or sales report issues, the beekeeper will have the opportunity to resolve their registration or sales report issues and request or reapply for a permit.

Denied due to pest or disease

If a permit is denied due to pest or disease issues, these factors will be considered:

  • For bee yards where varroa is ≥2% per yard and is the only pest/disease threshold not met (that is, no AFB detected; no Pest or Disease Order), beekeepers can control the varroa population and request a follow-up inspection.
  • For bee yards where an active EFB infection is detected, beekeepers can manage the EFB infection and request a follow-up inspection.
  • For bee yards with a Pest or Disease Order in effect and it is the only pest/disease threshold not met, the beekeeper may request a follow-up inspection after the Order is revoked.
  • Sales may be made from yards that have been confirmed SHB-positive. However, individual colonies that are SHB-positive may not be sold and these bee yards will be listed on the permit as being SHB-positive so that buyers are aware of the pest/disease status. Transporting a named pest is prohibited under the Bees Act.

Report honey bee sales

Every person who sells live honey bees must:

  • keep records of each sale
  • report sales to the Provincial Apiarist within 30 days of the date of sale

For your convenience, you can download and use our Sales Report template. You are not required to use this template, but it will help ensure that the minimum required information is reported.

Note: if you fail to report sales to the Provincial Apiarist, you may be denied a permit in the future.

How to submit a sales report

  1. In your sales report, state the:
    • name and address of the buyer(s)
    • quantities and description of bees (for example, queens, cells, nucleus, full-sized colonies) or package bees sold to each buyer
    • date of shipment of each quantity
  2. Send the completed sales report through one of the following manners:
    • email to apiary@ontario.ca
    • e-fax to 226-314-0983
    • mail to:
      Provincial Apiarist
      Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
      Animal Health and Welfare Branch
      1 Stone Road West, 5th Floor, NW
      Guelph, Ontario N1G 4Y2

If you didn’t sell anything

Notify the Provincial Apiarist if you didn’t sell any bees or used equipment within a season.

List of Queen and Nuc Permit holders

The current permit holders listed are Ontario beekeeping operations approved by OMAFRA to sell full-sized colonies, queen bees, queen cells, nucleus colonies, packaged bees or brood frames.

Beekeeping operation nameQueen and Nuc Permit issue date
(yyyy-mm-dd)
Queen and Nuc Permit expiry date
(yyyy-mm-dd)
Aaron B. Martin2022-04-262023-12-31
Above All Honey2021-06-082022-12-31
Ackroyd's Honey Inc.2022-04-012023-12-31
Adam's Honey2022-03-182022-12-31
Anatoli Koniouchine2021-07-082022-12-31
Andre C. Pilon2021-05-282022-12-31
Andrew D. Williams2022-04-262023-12-31
Andrew Pitek2022-03-252022-10-31
Anne Ladouceur2022-03-242022-10-31
Autumn's Bounty2022-03-242022-10-31
BDS Farm2021-05-292022-12-31
Ben's Bees2021-05-292022-12-31
Bloom and Bees2021-05-282022-12-31
Bonilla Family Farm2021-05-282022-12-31
Brian Burgener2021-06-282022-12-31
Busy Bee Beekeeping Supplies2021-05-292022-12-31
Charlotte E. Doyle2021-05-302022-12-31
Chatsworth Honey2022-03-042022-10-31
Corneil Moerkerken2021-04-162022-12-31
Cosmin/Ioan Bocean2021-05-272022-12-31
Creekbend Farm2021-07-092022-12-31
Darlene C. Myers-Savard2022-04-222023-12-31
Dawn Lalonde2022-03-252022-10-31
Dennis R. Piasetzki2021-05-272022-12-31
Dickey Bee Honey Inc2022-04-012023-12-31
Diju Farms2021-05-282022-12-31
Douglas N. Tompsett2022-04-222023-12-31
Eccles Apiaries2022-03-042022-10-31
Flying Dutchman's Natural Honey2021-05-212022-12-31
For the Bees- Bee Farm2022-04-012023-12-31
Forty Hills Honey2022-04-012023-12-31
Gibson's Pure Honey2021-05-282022-12-31
Golden Glow Apiaries2021-04-162022-12-31
Hammer Hives Apiary2021-06-082022-12-31
Howard Black2021-04-162022-12-31
Humble Bee2021-10-042021-12-31
Hunts Honey2021-05-282022-12-31
Ian T. Grant2021-07-082022-12-31
Innisfil Creek Honey2022-04-262023-12-31
Iona Thompson2021-04-192022-12-31
Ironbee Apiary2021-04-162022-12-31
James A. Woods2021-07-132022-12-31
James F. Hatchette2022-04-222023-12-31
James Ritchie2022-03-242022-10-31
Jeanette Kuntz2021-07-122022-12-31
Jennifer Cosby2021-07-082022-12-31
Jeremy D. Vlasschaert2021-05-272022-12-31
JoAnn Poirier2022-03-252022-10-31
Jocelyn Bertrand2022-04-222023-12-31
Jonathan Cucksey2022-04-222023-12-31
Julie Chartrand2022-04-262023-12-31
Julie Wires2021-05-282022-12-31
Kelly J. Ruttan2021-08-122022-12-31
Kevin Coppins2021-06-082022-12-31
Koty Gorman2022-04-222023-12-31
Lake Reflections2022-03-182022-10-31
Lauren Quinto2022-04-222023-12-31
Les Ruchers du Canton2021-05-272022-12-31
Manassa B. Bauman2022-04-262023-12-31
Marion's Honey2021-12-312022-12-31
Matos Apiary2022-04-012023-12-31
Matperud Apiary Inc2021-06-282022-12-31
Melissa Greenwood & Mike Derkinderen2021-06-162022-12-31
Michelle & John Lynch2022-04-222023-12-31
Minor Bros2021-06-232022-12-31
Naked Bee Honey2021-06-162022-12-31
Ontario Beekeepers Association2022-04-222023-12-31
Paradis Honey Ltd.2021-04-192022-12-31
Rachelle Hughes2021-05-282022-12-31
Ray G. Martin2021-06-162022-12-31
Reginald Hicks2021-04-162022-12-31
Richard Ince2021-09-162022-12-31
Shawn D. Rennie2021-06-162022-12-31
St. George Honey Company2022-04-012023-12-31
Steve and Dianne Hills2022-03-242022-10-31
Steve P. Bedard2021-10-052022-12-31
Steve Roberts2022-04-222023-12-31
Steve's Bees2021-10-042022-12-31
Sticky Forks Apiary2021-05-272022-12-31
Sticky Mittens2021-06-082022-12-31
Taylor L. Campbell2021-05-272022-12-31
The Great Canadian Honey Company2021-06-282022-12-31
The Spry Farm2021-06-282022-12-31
Thurston Honey Bee Co.2022-04-012023-12-31
Timberwind Farm2021-07-222022-12-31
Valley Beekeeping Supplies2021-05-292022-12-31
Walker Apiaries2022-04-222023-12-31
Wegner Enterprises2021-07-132022-12-31
William K. Lake Jr.2022-03-182023-12-31
William S. Ferguson2022-03-042022-10-31