Changes to NSW beekeeping registration conditions

A new condition will come into effect from 1 July 2020 requiring existing and new beekeepers registered in NSW to comply with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice (the Code).

What is the Code?

The Code has been developed by industry in collaboration with all states and territories to provide a national minimum standard for beekeeping practices. The beekeeping industry has approached Government to make the Code a condition of beekeeper registration in NSW.

What are the changes?

From 1 July 2020, it will be compulsory for beekeepers registered in NSW to ensure their management practices meet the minimum standards outlined in sections of the Code. Meeting these standards will not be a big change for beekeepers who have already adopted sound management practices in their beekeeping and comply with current requirements under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

The Code is divided into parts. Part B of the Code is compulsory for all beekeepers. Part C applies only to beekeepers managing 50 hives or more. Part D is recommended, but not compulsory. A summary of new and existing requirements is available on the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) honey bee webpage.

It is the responsibility of all beekeepers to make sure they are complying with all relevant parts of the Code prior to 1 July 2020 to avoid possible penalties following this date.

Why are these changes being made?

Beekeeping is an evolving industry that has grown exponentially in recent years. Changes are required to adapt to growth and ensure NSW beekeepers are held accountable for managing their hives, bee health and minimising biosecurity risk within the industry. The Code of Practice sets a nationally consistent framework for minimum standards for beekeepers.

What are the benefits of these changes?

By adhering to the code of practice, beekeepers will be helping to protect their industry and honeybees from the impacts of pests and diseases like varroa mite and American foulbrood.

Mandating compliance with the Code of Practice in NSW will:

  • Improve beekeeping practices relating to bee and hive health resulting in better management of bee pests and diseases and reduce the spread of contagious pests
  • Allow for better management of the occurrence and impact of exotic pests and diseases in bees across the NSW industry by enabling quicker response times for pest and disease outbreaks and minimising the impact to individual producers and the industry as a whole
  • Bring NSW into line with other jurisdictions who are already regulating the Code to assist in a national push to harmonise beekeeping conditions across Australia
  • Increase reporting and accountability to strengthen surveillance and tracing activities for established and exotic bee pests and diseases

More information and resources

NSW DPI will be working closely with industry over the coming months to support beekeepers prior to the change coming into effect. Visit the NSW DPI registration webpage for updates, resources, information sessions and FAQs.

Acknowledgement: This article was supplied by NSW DPI.