Maple Ridge approves backyard bees

The beekeeping bylaw allows residents to keep a maximum of two hives per property.

Maple Ridge council voted unanimously to allow backyard beekeeping on Tuesday.

The move follows similar bylaws in Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster to allow hobby honeymakers in residential areas.

The beekeeping bylaw allows residents to keep a maximum of two hives per property.

Hives have to be located behind the principle building on a property, and built 2.5 metres above ground with a two-metre solid fence or hedge.

The District of Maple Ridge’s agricultural advisory committee will be presenting a backyard farming exhibit at this year’s Country Fest, which will include information on hobby beekeeping.

Committee vice-chair Candace Gordon said she was pleased Maple Ridge council decided to allow backyard beekeeping, given how important bees are to food production.

“Without bees, we would lose one-third of our food,” Gordon said. “There would be no apples, no pears, no peaches, no zucchini. Anything requiring pollination needs bees.”

While a single hive can contain up to 30,000 bees, Gordon said bees are safe and stings uncommon, as most “bee” stings are actually from wasps, which are far more aggressive.

“The only time I’ve ever been stung by a bee is when I sat on one, so you can’t really fault the bee,” she said.