British Columbia

Kamloops beekeepers put hives on office tower roofs

'We are trying to promote bee growth for lack of a better term, and the more inner city roofs that we can get our hives on the better for the bees really,' says David Yetman despite a bylaw that doesn't allow for hives in industrial zones.

While there haven't been any complaints, city bylaws don't permit hives in industrial zones

David and Karina Yetman stand with their beehive on the roof of their office tower in Kamloops. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

A new sign has been posted on an office tower in south Kamloops that reads: Operation Pollination.

Beekeepers Karina and David Yetman are maintaining a bee hive on the roof. Their business, Honey and Hive, is trying to bring more bees into the city.

"I love it. It's something that I'm actively trying to grow," said David Yetman.

"The more inner city roofs that we can get our hives on, the better for the bees really. Believe it or not, there's more flowers basically in the city where the bees are going to feed on that nectar, on that pollen, and it's good for them."

David and his wife Karina are new to beekeeping, but have expanded quickly. They went from two to ten hives within a year.

The Yetmans are building their brood of bees in the bottom box of their beehive. Once it is full, the second box will fill with honey. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Karina wanted to start the business to try to do something good for the planet.

"It's not that I'm taking away from the fact that we've hurt the earth, but it's like no one came up with an idea to get people involved to do something better. And so I wanted to be a positive message in our media and in our community."

Industrial bees

Karina's father owns a commercial building in the Interior city, so they were easily able to put a hive on the roof of his building, and they also got permission from the landlord of their office tower on the south side of the city. 

The couple has been diligent about putting up signs to warn people about the bees.

"Most of the time I see beekeepers that are of a retired age, and I was like, 'wait a second, we can do something here,'" said Yetman. "We can bring some energy, some passion to this and then maybe if we're lucky enough, we could tell the community about how we all need to be involved." (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

"I love the thought of putting beehives on roofs. People can't walk up to the hive and kick it over. They can't drive by it and that's better for the bees as well, they're undisturbed and people are undisturbed," she said. 

Bylaw issue

However, even though Kamloops is a bee city, which means it's committed to promoting healthy ecosystems for bees, the couple could face some hurdles, since city bylaws currently only permit having beehives in certain agricultural and residential areas.

"I feel like as a bee city those bee laws are contradicting how we could help the bees [and] how we could also promote Kamloops for being part of a really important environmental initiative," said Karina.

She says she wants to discuss the matter with the city's Mayor Ken Christian and suggest that a beehive be placed at City Hall.

Tammy Blundell, acting bylaw services manager for the city of Kamloops, said beehives are not permitted in industrial zones, but the city is open to discussing the matter.

"We would be more than happy to entertain the discussion and bring it up to the departments that need to...allow that," she said.

Bylaw officers will only investigates matters if complaints are made, she added.

With files from Jenifer Norwell and Daybreak Kamloops