Hi everyone,

Our next workshop will be on Top Bar Hives! See below for the details!

What?  Top Bar Workshop

When?  11:00AM on Saturday 30 July 2016

Where? 36 MacFarlane Street.  Lake Echo.



Types of top bar hives:



Langstroth long

Warre hive

Sun Hive



Less disruptive inspections

Less lifting

All natural comb

View window

Can be built fairly cheaply, or out of scrap wood



Need for more frequent inspections/manipulations/harvesting

Combs sometimes collapse/break off the bar.

Difficult to find nucs/packages for Tanzanian/Kenyan style.

Small top bar community and lack of standard hive dimensions make sharing difficult



Crush and strain

Cut comb


Overwintering issues


Placement of stores vs brood




Swarm prevention

Keeping the bees drawing straight comb

Techniques for handling comb to insure it does not break



Tara Lapointe examines bees around the hive she keeps in her backyard on Willow Street in Halifax.

To bee or not to bee.

That is the question Tara Lapointe wants answered.

Lapointe is a Nova Scotia-registered beekeeper and has a hive in her backyard on Willow Street in Halifax.

She told CBC’s Information Morning someone recently complained about her hive.

Dwindling bee population

The hive is in a fenced-in location at the back of her yard.

“You’ll see the busy bees moving back and forth, they really don’t care about anything but their nectar so they just zoom off into the sky and they’ll travel about five kilometres in either direction to gather all their nectar and pollen.”

Lapointe, who is a naturopathic doctor, said she is concerned about the dwindling population of bees in the area and interested in the benefits of honey and royal jelly.

Her co-op told her about the bee complaint and she called HRM’s bylaw office. She learned beekeeping is classified as an agricultural activity and the complaint was being passed on to a compliance officer.

Surprised by complaint

“It’s really up to the compliance officer, how they proceed with a complaint,” she said.

Lapointe, a member of the Halifax Honey Bee Society, said she doesn’t know who made the complaint and was surprised because she had informed her neighbours about her intention to keep the bees and their response had been positive.

Tara Lapointe and her bee hive

Naturopathic doctor Tara Lapointe is shown with her bee hive in the backyard of her Willow Street home. (Zak Markan/CBC)

“My immediate next-door neighbours have been great. Their little boys are intrigued by the bees and they haven’t noticed any bees on their property. They said they just kind of zoom up and over.”

HRM’s animal bylaw is being amended to spell out the conditions that will allow registered beekeepers to have hives in the city.

“Although the municipality does not regulate the industry, we do have a definition within our animal bylaw that does reference bees as venomous insects,” HRM spokeswoman Tiffany Chase said.

“Those people who were beekeepers under provincial regulations were allowed to have them. But that specific municipal regulation talked about not allowing these animals off your own property and, of course, we know that bees will be moving off private property. So we needed to make an amendment to our animal bylaw to recognize that movement by honey bees.”

Bylaw amendment to be considered

She said people who want to have hives must still be provincially registered as a beekeeper.

“You are required to go through a process with them to obtain a certificate and meet a series of regulations that they require. But in terms of the regulation within our own municipal bylaw that was causing some potential issues with beekeeping, that will be addressed by the end of the month.”

Regional council will consider the bylaw amendment sometime in July, Chase said.

“Most of our bylaws are actually enforced on a complaint-driven basis, so when we receive complaints of such a nature, we do followup. But in this case, it would appear to us that it may not have been clear that bees are exempt, and they will be once this amendment goes through.”

Hi members,

At the beginning of this season we had mentioned emailing about additional opportunities to learn about bees by inviting members to come participate in basic hive inspections.

A few of our members will be opening up their beehives this Sunday, July 3rd from 11:00-1:00pm at 145 Ketch Harbour Road. You are more than welcome to come by within that time frame to participate or watch! The property also has a beautiful garden which is certainly worth seeing!

Look forward to seeing you then!


It’s hard to believe that we’re heading into Halifax Honey Bee Society’s 8th year of urban beekeeping! We want to begin with a huge thank-you to all our members. Not only has your continuous support assisted with bringing our workshops to life with gripping discussions and keen engagement, but your interest in bees has helped build a healthy environment in the HRM!

We’ve decided to do things a little differently this season. Although we will always encourage new members who are at the beginning stages of beekeeping, we’ve decided to advance our learnings to accommodate existing members’ knowledge and experience. Even if you know nothing about bees, anyone and everyone is welcomed to our workshops! We can assure new members that introductory skills and education will be acquired during the season but if you wish to get more help with the basics, definitely let us know. We have a fantastic team of organizers who would love to teach you the fundamentals so you can enter the wonderful world of apiculture!

We want to increase the number of opportunities members can have to learn about beekeeping. Due to the limitations of scheduling honey bee workshops – such as being reliant on weather, stage of hive operations and health of the bees, and the ability of members to attend if events are only hosted on weekends or weekdays – determining set dates and locations has been difficult. Since the bees do not always agree with our agenda, this year we’re letting the bees decide!

Individual members of our organizing team will be sending out notices 1-4 days in advance (or even the morning of) on when they’ll be in their apiary if members want to visit their bees. We also have a predetermined list of workshops that we’ll be hosting this season (list to be posted soon!). Please be sure to check for updates on the website and Facebook page which will be edited concurrently. Emails will be sent to the mailing list as well.
Link to Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halifax.honey.bee.society/?fref=ts

If you are interested in hosting or leading a workshop, please let us know! Send all inquiries or suggestions to halifaxhoneybees@gmail.com. Also we’d love it if you could share any bee-related information about other learning opportunities taking place (public lectures, community or provincial events, etc.).

Here are the basic details, with more coming soon:

Workshop: De-Winterizing the Beehive
Date and Time: 2:00-4:00pm Sunday, April 17th
Location: 31 Roupen Court (off of Kingswood), Hammonds Plains
Description: There should be major pollen coming in from willows, maples and crocuses but it is unlikely we’ll see this as the weather forecast predicts 7°C. It will probably be too cold for major interior inspections but this workshop will mark the beginning of the beekeeping season. Here we will be removing the winter wrapping and having a quick peak inside the hive to see how the bees are doing. We’ll discuss what beekeepers can expect to see when doing their first inspection and what to look for. We’ll be hosting the workshop at an apiary where the bees successfully made it through the winter; however, members will also learn about managing a beehive that did not survive the winter. Here it is important to know how to diagnose the reason for mortality and how to properly clean or discard equipment.

Workshop: Installing a Nuc
Location and Time: TBA (early June)
Description: Come watch the society install one of it’s brand new colonies (we’ve purchased 2 nucs this year). Workshop will include a discussion on selecting the optimal hive location/direction and how to manage a new colony.

Workshop: Spring Inspection
Location and Time: TBA (end of April/early May)

Workshop: Can you do the Splits?
Location and Time: TBA (mid or end of May)
Description: Splitting a hive is a way to control swarming by simulating the swarm for the colony. There are different methods of conducting splits which will be the focus of this workshop. Understanding “bee politics” will also be discussed, such as what to look for when interrupting reasons for swarming and producing a new queen, the virgins wars, and dividing a colony so there are equal job roles among the bees in both hives.

Workshop: Top Bar Hive
Location and Time: TBA
Description: This has been a very popular workshop in the past and it’s no wonder why! The top bar hive is a very neat beehive design (typically what you see in beekeeping is called a Langstroth hive). The top bar hive mimics a more natural beehive where instead of using plastic foundation for the bees to build wax off of, it uses frameless wooden bars (this is how combed honey is produced). This is definitely an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Workshop: Flow Hive
Location and Time: TBA
Description: One of our members has been looking forward to setting up the newest beehive technology this year- the Flow Hive!
Learn more about the technology at: http://www.honeyflow.com/

And of course, the following 3 workshops are fundamental and will be hosted later in the summer:
Workshop: Diseases and Pests
Workshop: Honey Extraction
Workshop: Winterization

Stay tuned for more details!

We look forward to seeing new and familiar faces!


The Halifax Honey Bee Society is proud to share a new urban beekeeping initiative taking place in the North End Dartmouth! Healthy Honey Beez, lead by Family SOS and the Healthy Teenz Program, is a social project that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being and includes maximizing social impact rather than profits.

Youth participants (aged 12-18) in the Healthy Teenz Dartmouth program will be managing two Honey Bee (Apis Melifera) Hives, located in the Guy Jacobs Community Garden, at 35 Jackson Road.  They will ensure the well being of the bees and their hive, while engaging their community on the importance of bees on a global level.  In addition, the youth will harvest, package, market and sell honey from the hive.  In doing this the youth will enhance and develop valuable life skills and an entrepreneurial spirit.  Many experienced beekeepers have stated that beekeeping is a therapeutic activity that in many ways mirrors meditation.  The mindfulness and patience learned from beekeeping can have a lifelong impact on a person’s mental health and well being.  In addition to the actual act of beekeeping, the processes learned around managing an apiary and a small business will help many youth appreciate and understand the challenges around operating your own business and all the tasks that come along with it.  Finally, while working with wild animals, the Healthy Honey Beez project aims to educate the community and its members on the importance and science behind Honey Bees and their hives.  While doing this, it is hoped that youth will develop a love for science as well as passion for contributing to their community.

While this initiative will be launching in the North End of Dartmouth, they hope to extend the opportunity to other community gardens and make it a city wide project. If you are interested in supporting the initiative, please email Stewart Zaun, Program Coordinator at Family SOS at stewart@familysos.ca.

A community meeting is being held on Thursday March 10th at 6pm at the Dartmouth North Community Centre to introduce and discuss an exciting new initiative lead by Family SOS and the Healthy Teenz Program.

Click on the event poster below and watch the video showing a sneak preview.
Family SOS Healthy Honey Beez Community Meeting Poster (1)



Hello beekeepers,

You may be interested to know that Mark Winston, notable professor of apiculture and recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction for his recent book, Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, will be visiting Nova Scotia later this month and speaking at Dalhousie University. These events are open to the public so please feel welcome to attend.

Dr Winston will be speaking at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus on Nov 18th in the Alumni Theatre at 7pmhttp://www.dal.ca/faculty/agriculture/research/2015-visiting-speaker-series.html

Dr. Winston will be speaking on the Halifax campus on Nov 19th in Ondaatje Hall, 6135 University Ave at 7pmhttp://www.dal.ca/faculty/sustainability/news-and-events/ess-lecture-series-schedule.html


Hi members,

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall season and beautiful colours!

We will be having our honey extraction workshop, combined with our winterizing workshop, October 18th (Sunday) from 2:00-4:00pm at 3676 Leaman Street, Halifax.

We will try to have a number of jars so everyone can take home some honey but if you have any extra jars it would be great if you could bring them to share.

We apologize for the late scheduling for our honey extraction workshop but we hope you’re all available to make it to this event!

Make sure to bring a list of questions about winterizing your bees. Properly preparing the bees for winter is paramount for ensuring your bees are healthy and survive.