Frequently asked questions
What are the regulations around keeping bees?
Regulations can vary depending upon where you live but all beekeepers are required to register with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Online registration is free for up to 5 hives. If you are in Victoria, click here to register your bees. If you are in NSW, click here.
It is probably best to check with your local council prior to establishing a hive. There are plenty of apiarist clubs around that you can also contact to find out what the regulations are in your state.
Note that there are also regulations about the disposal of unwanted hives so do check with the Department if you decide to stop keeping bees.
So how do I get the bees to start my hive?
There are plenty of bee sellers that you can find online in Australia. These sellers can arrange to sell you a colony of European honey bees to get you started. Due to liability issues you will need to go to these vendors and pick up your bees as it is not possible to ship bees via Australia post or other carriers. So search online for bee sellers local to your area.
What pests should I be concerned about?
There are a number of pests that you should familiarise yourself with including the small hive beetle and the wax moth. Check out this link to the NSW department of primary productions page on bee pests. Click here.
What about native Australian bees?
The majority of bees kept for honey production in Australia are European honey bees. There are however around 1500 species of native Australian bees and a number of these bees are suitable for honey production. Some of these species are actually stingless! There are a number of native bee clubs if you need to get moer information about keeping native bees.
Will my bees swarm?
Unfortunately swarming is a natural bee behaviour. At certain points in a hives lifetime a portion of the bees will head off with the old queen to look for a new hive. You should consult with your local apiarist clubs to determine the best strategies for minimising loss from your colony.