Beekeepers affected by bushfires

We are working with bushfire affected beekeepers to assess fire damage to their beehives and to help deliver the support they need.

Assistance programs for landholders and beekeepers

We are supporting Gippsland and North East landholders and beekeepers through animal welfare assessments and assistance, farm impact assessments and the referral of urgent cases of personal need to the appropriate agencies.

Financial, personal and family support programs are available, visit our Gippsland and North East fires recovery and response page.

Report damaged beehives

If you have or know of damaged beehives, please report them to Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226.

Your information helps us:

  • understand the extent of bushfire damage to the apiary industry
  • tailor our assistance for beekeepers as quickly as possible

Apiaries located in a fire affected area

Beekeepers with apiaries in bushfire affected areas must contact the nearest Incident Control Centre to:

  • confirm their apiary site is safe to access
  • seek permission before entering to remove their hives

Access cannot be guaranteed in all areas due to:

  • changing bushfire conditions
  • concerns for your personal safety

If you believe a bushfire could potentially threaten your apiary you can monitor the situation and stay up to date with incidents and warnings on the VicEmergency website.

For more information on road closures visit the VicRoads website.

DO NOT travel into an area until safe passage is assured

Beekeepers with apiaries in bushfire affected areas must contact the nearest Incident Control Centre to confirm their apiary site is safe to access and to seek permission before entering to remove your hives.

Access cannot be guaranteed for all areas due to changing bushfire conditions and concerns for your personal safety.

If you believe a bushfire could potentially threaten your apiary you can monitor the situation and stay up to date with incidents and warnings on the Emergency website.

For more information on road closures go to the VicRoads website.

Emergency apiary sites

The Victorian Apiarists’ Association (VAA) is coordinating the allocation of emergency apiary sites for beekeepers affected by the devastating bushfires.

Beekeepers who need an emergency apiary site can contact the VAA preferably by email: vaa@vicbeekeepers.com.au or by calling Aris Petratos on 0425 706 426.

Landowners volunteering to host a bushfire affected apiary on their land should contact the VAA to check their land is suitable.

Selecting a new apiary site during a fire situation

Selecting a new bee site involves a thorough risk assessment. Before going to the effort of delivering your hives to a new site, ask yourself:

  • What is the fuel load (dry leaves, grass and branches) on the ground where the hives will be sitting?
  • Could fuel be blown against the hives in a high wind event?
  • Where is the nearest water supply your bees can access without causing public nuisance? Or will you need to cart in water?
  • What access is there to the site? Could it  easily be cut off?
  • Is there more than one way to approach the site? Is there an alternative route out?

Public or private apiary sites

Contact the land manager or property owner of public or private apiary sites to let them know you located your bees on their site (even though a pre-existing agreement exists).

The owners or managers can then alert beekeepers of the threat of fire — if time permits.

Insurance claims

It is critical to make contact with your insurance company as soon as possible if you need to make a claim for:

  • damaged hives
  • equipment
  • bee colonies

Insurance policies vary, so make sure you check with your insurer to see what your policy covers.

If you need information from Agriculture Victoria about your beekeeper registration details to support of your claim, please contact us: honeybee.biosecurity@agriculture.vic.gov.au

More information

Our bushfires section has general information for farmers on the bushfires, or you can contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.

For more information on how to care for smoke affected hives download the factsheet:

Page last updated: 08 Sep 2020