Nanaimo Beekeepers Club

The Nanaimo Beekeepers’ Club

is a volunteer, non-profit organization that promotes education for beekeepers and the public of the mid-Vancouver Island region.
Our long established club enjoys an active membership of educators, commercial business operators and hobbyists. 
Our goal is to share information and provide a friendly environment for learning to ensure the continued success and good health of honey bees on Vancouver Island.

Day of the Honey Bee

To be recognized on May 29 of each year.
British Columbia Day of the Honey Bee

Club Meetings

The Club meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month (excl July, Aug, Dec)
Meetings include education sessions, beginners corner and exchange of bee information from local beekeepers.
Find out more about Membership benefits

Apiary Inspector for South Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands

Wendi Gilson 
Phone : 250-882-2852 / Email:
BC Ministry of Agriculture

Swarm Control

Please do your part to save Honey Bee Population
We are Happy to come and remove a swarm of bees safely and for FREE
We do not deal with any insects other than honey bees. ie – paper wasps or bumble bees

From one make two

Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees.

When to expect them

Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the season.

Is it dangerous?

They are focused on finding a new nest, not on attacking. That said, it is important to keep your distance from swarming bees, because if the bees feel threatened, then it is possible they will sting.

What to do?

Do not attempt to move or destroy the swarm. Such attempts could seriously back fire.
Contact us and we will remove the swarm safely and ensure they find an appropriate new home.

Here is some more information about swarming bees:

Please send us the address/location of the swarm and a phone number you can be contacted at by the person who will be coming to collect the bee  swarm.  Some of the information we might ask is:

1)   Where is the swarm?
2)   How high of the ground is it?
3)   How big is the cluster of bees (the size of a baseball, a football, a soccer ball, a basketball or bigger)?
4)   Do you know approximately how long the swarm has been there?

Want to become a Beekeeper?

What you always wanted to know about Bees

Am I allowed to have bees?

Nanaimo’s bylaw allows for up to 3 colonies on any parcel of land under 1 acre, more on larger properties.
Check out the bylaws on

Will I get stung?

Honeybees are vegetarian, so unlike wasps or hornets, they have no interest in you or your picnic. They will only sting in defense. But all that said, yes, as a beekeeper you probably will get stung.

How much work is it?

More than a cat, but less than a dog. Once an apiary is set up, most beekeepers spend 5 to 30 minutes checking their colonies twice a month between March and October. Most of the work is done by the bees, they even clean up if you take some honey.

How much does it cost?

Like many hobbies, beekeeping has initial startup expenses for equipment and bees, but beyond that, cost is minimal. Most people spend between $250 – $750 for equipment, bees and training. Feeling handy? build your own hive! Plans are available online.

How much honey will i get?

Unfortunately, this is an impossible question to answer. It depends entirely on the weather, your hive, and its location. As much as 75lb per hive, or as little as nothing.



The Nanaimo Beekeepers Club meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month (excluding July, August, and December) at 7PM
Beginners Corner starts at 6:30 and is open for everyone that has questions about bees and bee keeping. 

Please join us at Vancouver Island University 
Shq’apthut – A Gathering Place,
Building 170, 900 Fifth St, Nanaimo 
(link to Google Maps)


Meeting Wednesday, January 23, 2019

This month’s presentation will be on the topic of Nosema, which is the most virulent disease affecting adult honey bees. If you have ever suffered winter or spring colony losses and you’ve ruled out varroosis, starvation, and moisture issues, it was more than likely Nosema that got them. Gone are the days when it could be diagnosed solely by fecal staining on your hive boxes; N. Ceranae is almost impossible to diagnose without specialized equipment. Luckily, we have that equipment!

Mark Schilling will be presenting in two parts. The first part will be a PowerPoint presentation on what causes Nosema, the different types, what it does to our bees, identification, as well as prevention and treatment. The second part will be a live demonstration of how we can identify and quantify Nosema spore counts in our colonies. We will be preparing samples of dead bees and displaying the contents of their mid-guts at 400 times magnification through a microscope, the image being displayed in real time on to the projection screen. This is one of only two ways to accurately diagnose Nosema Apis and Nosema Ceranae. If you have any colonies that you suspect may have Nosema, we invite you to bring a sample of bees which we will prepare and inspect for a diagnosis. The best samples would be adult bees that are towards the end of their life spans, which would be collected from the entrance of the colony on a warmer day.

Samples should be a minimum of 50 bees, either collected from a deceased colony or (preferably) ‘freshly’ dead, which you can either freeze in a sealed plastic bag, or preserve in alcohol (rubbing alcohol or similar works fine; you don’t need to sacrifice your Single Malt). Please have your name and phone number printed on the bag or jar; if we have more samples than we can get to during the meeting, Mark will inspect the remainder at home and get back to you with the results. We will invite you to view Nosema spores through the microscope during the break (the stereo image you see directly through the scope is much better than what gets displayed on the screen).

We hope to see you there!

Meeting Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wendi Gilson our Provincial Apiculture Inspector for Vancouver Island) will be our guest speaker.

Meeting Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The guest speaker will be Dr. Alison McAfee who has just completed her Ph.D. in Genome Sciences and Technology at UBC, working under the guidance of Dr. Leonard Foster. Dr. McAfee has successfully defended her thesis in determining the molecular mechanism of hygienic behavior in honey bees.

Meeting Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Meeting Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Upcoming Events

Field Days

The field days will likely start March 3rd, or April 7th if the weather in March isn’t conducive to opening hives. These will be held the first Sunday of each month (weather permitting). Members will be asked to volunteer to host the field day, where other members will visit their apiary on the date in question, with Wendi Gilson (our Provincial Apiculture Inspector for Vancouver Island) assisting with advice and an experienced set of eyes.

More details to follow soon

Free Online Resources

Instructional and Educational Beekeeping videos

Amazing collections from the Strathcona Beekeepers

some great info on planting beneficial plant species

Any Questions? 

Please get in touch

Contact Us

For issues with swarms, and beekeeping or bee club information email or contact us via Facebook