Bees vs District of Squamish

By Jakob Ellis
Published: Feb. 29, 2012


Did you know that the District of Squamish made a decision concerning its zoning bylaw with respect to urban agriculture and more specifically to the banning of backyard bee hives?

Considering the importance of bees to human survival, and the survival of the bees themselves, I think the decision made by the council was wrong.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, bees account for a large percentage of pollination of many crops including almonds, apples, oranges, blueberries, grapes, cotton and soybeans and many, many more.

These crops are important to humans as a food source and economically world wide.

Bees help create manyfoods, but they also create their own food, called honey. So they are like the animal chefs of the world.

These creatures help so many animals, without them the world would be a far different place.

Bees are also under extreme distress and are becoming endangered. They are threatened by diseases, mites, genetically modified foods, lack of cross pollination due to large plantings of one crop in a large area (lack of natural food source), pollution, and human encroachment to their natural food sources (cities).

There are many reasons for being against this bylaw.

Considering in Vancouver they have allowed backyard and rooftop hives and there is even one on top of Vancouver City Hall. So why can’t Squamish have something like that? They have not allowed this bylaw because bees attract bears.

Although honey bees do attract bears, we still need them to survive and so do bears. One solution,actually employed by my Grandpa, who is a master beekeeper or (Apiarist), is to put the bees in bear proof cages.

If a bear goes in one of the bear proof cages by force then it’s a problem bear and we have to ship it far into the wilderness.

Bees and bears can co-exist and they have for centuries. If we don’t have bees the bears might not have very many fruits for food anymore and then they will want to eatmore garbage!

Overall, I think that the bees should be allowed to be in the yards of any and all residents of Squamish.

So, please help fight for the bees because after all not all bees sting.

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  1. Marty Marquette says:

    I agree lets keep Bees in Squamish – what can I do?

  2. Jill says:
  3. Patricia says:

    Great letter Jakob. Council is reconsidering bees in residential zoning. Not many people have an understanding of the importance of bees in a healthy ecosystem and how many species rely directly and indirectly on bees fulfilling their roll as pollinators to thrive and survive…including humans. Thanks for your very well thoughtout and articulate letter.

    Patricia Heintzman

  4. WesternWilson says:

    Well written, Jakob! Bear predation on beehives can be prevented through the use of sturdy hive cages and/or portable, solar electric fencing. There are many beekeepers throughout North America who must deal with bears in their apiaries, in the same way we have to be mindful of bear interest in fruit trees, vegetable gardens, small pets and refuse in urban backyards . The solution is not to ban all beekeeping! The winter of 2013 brought unexpectedly high bee losses, possibly due to toxin loads on bees foraging in non-organic fields. Until your municipality passes bee-friendly bylaws that we all need, you can support honeybees by planting lots of bee forage plants in your gardens to support honeybees and native pollinators, and buy organic, non-GM foods.