Victoria's Honey Bee site hosted by
Barry's Bees
Victoria BC, Canada

or by EMail

Barry the BeeMaster Barry
is a local beekeeper serving the Greater Victoria area on the southern end of Vancouver Island, BC Canada. He is an accredited Bee Master and BCHPA certified instructor of Beginner's Beekeeping. He has been keeping bees for 20+ years.

Training is an integral part of the support program we provide to beekeepers of the south islands of British Columbia. We currently offer courses for several aspects of beekeeping. All courses include field experience as well as classroom time. We also provide an on going private consulting service for additional on site training.

Becoming a Beekeeper
Today, the challenge of becoming a successful bee-keeper is more complex than ever before. Globalization has resulted in pest and bee diseases being dispersed worldwide. Modern, large scale mono agriculture is producing affordable food but at the cost of the honey bees health and wellness. Fortunately, research has enabled a better understanding of the complexity for the bees integration with the environment and their life cycle. The challenge is to access and use this information wisely.

When I started bee-keeping, 20 plus years ago, the process was straightforward. I was able to read a book, build a bee hive and source some bees from a friend becoming an instant bee-keeper. After 4 months of watching the girls, I had some absolutely amazing local honey in my pantry. Today this simplified approach no longer works well. My observation is that beginner bee-keepers are experiencing a near 50% colony loss during the first year, well above industry standards.

There are four major components in becoming a successful bee-keeper.
  • Access information - this is critical. To acquire sufficient general and local knowledge, a course is recommended. It should contain a standardized core component combined with extended local content, given by an accredited bee-keeping instructor.
  • Obtain bee-keeper and bee-keeping equipment proven to work in your local climate. Your instructor should be able to assist in procuring affordable equipment.
  • Source local, proven bees to start your apiary. 'Local' means the bees and queen were raised within your local climactic area. It may take 3 or more years for a lineage of bees to acclimatize to your locality before they could be labelled 'local'. 'Proven' means the queen has produced a strong laying pattern. It usually takes 10 days of laying after a queen has mated before a laying pattern can be rated as strong.
  • Pursue ongoing education, combined with a consistent mentor-ship program. This is advisable for at least 2 years in order to develop your skill set as a successful bee-keeper.
At Barry's Bees, we have developed a modular training program to provide knowledge, equipment, bees and mentor-ship to fit your budget of time and cost. The starting point is a 'Beginner’s Bee-keeping' course by a certified BCHPA instructor for $265 including materials, taxes and 1 year of mentor-ship. Equipment is sourced from around the globe with preference given to manufacturing in Canada, particulaarily on the Islands. Each student is guaranteed the availability of at least one local, proven nucleus colony from the private stock of Barry's Bees to start an apiary. Ongoing education is available through 'Intermediate Bee-keeping' and 'Introductory Queen Rearing' courses.

Private consulting session for beekeepers around Greater Victoria are available on a fee for service basis. Please EMail me to inquire for a time and rates or call directly on my HotLine at 250 900-5133.


Pender Island

  • TBA
Queen Rearing

  • TBA