Do you keep bees or are you interested in keeping bees?
If you either keep bees or are interested in becoming a beekeeper, there are some important points below to consider.
You must be registered with your state department.
In Victoria, if you own one or more bee hives you must be a registered beekeeper. This is a condition under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994.
Registration online is free if you own 1-5 hives, $30 for 6-50 hives and $0.60 per hive for 51+ hives.
Registration can be made online at agriculture.vic.gov.au or call 136 186.
There are rules and regulations for keeping bees.Bees are classified as livestock and in Victoria are governed by the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 and Regulations 2017. Bees must therefore be kept in accordance with this Act and Regulations.
Victoria also has an Apiary Code of Practice 2011 that is mandatory to adhere to. The Apiary Code of Practice sets out the parameters for use of land for apiary in all parts of Victoria. Every beekeeper must comply with this Code.
Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice
There is also an ‘Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice’ that must be implemented in your apiary.
This code has been developed in consultation with beekeepers to provide a clear framework for beekeepers to engage in best practice biosecurity.
You can find the ‘Biosecurity Code of Practice’ at honeybee.org.au.
Diseases and pests
There are many endemic diseases and pests such as American Foulbrood (AFB), European Foulbrood, Small Hive Beetle, Chalkbrood and Nosema that all beekeepers need to be aware of.
Under the ‘Honey Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice’ beekeepers must regularly inspect their hives for diseases and pests.
American Foulbrood (AFB) is a notifiable disease under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994.
If you have or suspect having American Foulbrood (AFB) in your hive(s) you must notify Agriculture Victoria apiary officers (contact details below).
In addition you must also look for exotic diseases such as Varroa mites.
If you are suspicious of an exotic disease or pest such as Varroa mite please contact the Plant Health Australia Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881 or an Agriculture Victoria Apiary Officer immediately.
Join a beekeeping club
It highly recommended beekeepers join a local beekeeper organisation such as a club or association in their local area. You can learn from experienced beekeepers and gain valuable beekeeping advice.
For beekeeping clubs and associations please contact the Victorian Apiarist Association (VAA) on (03) 5446 1455 or via vicbeekeepers.com.au.
If you require further information or assistance, please contact the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or email email@example.com.
Agriculture Victoria honey bee website – agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/honey-bees
This website contains information on registration, disease and bee biosecurity.
Plant Health Australia Bee Aware website – beeaware.org.au
This website contains useful information on pest and diseases of honeybees, best practice biosecurity, pollination information and many more helpful resources.
- Australian Honey Bee Industry (AHBIC) website – honeybee.org.au
This website contains bee industry information.
Australian Beekeeping Guide – agrifutures.com.au/product/australian-beekeeping-guide
This document can be downloaded free or purchased through RIRDC and is an excellent resource for beekeepers.
- Plant Health Exotic Plant and Pest Hotline – 1800 081 881