Inspecting hives

Hives must be regularly inspected for pests and diseases

For all beekeepers

hive-inspectionIf any level of biosecurity is to be maintained, hives must be inspected for pests and diseases at regular intervals.

If a pest or disease is allowed to go undetected for too long, it could kill the infected hive and spread to other hives in the area. In the case of exotic pests, if they are not detected early they will have a much higher chance of spreading and becoming established in Australia (ie. not feasible to eradicate).

Conversely, if such a pest is detected early the feasibility of eradication will be much greater, even if it is a serious pest. The more often beekeepers inspect their hives, the more likely early detection and thus eradication of a pest will be.

Exotic Plant Pest HotlineAnother important point is that good biosecurity is the responsibility of the entire beekeeping community. The presence of a pest or disease in your hives could affect the operations of other beekeepers. As such all beekeepers, whether commercial or amateur, are obliged to carry out regular inspections.

If you suspect you have found an exotic pest in any of your hives, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline, 1800 084 881.

Click hereĀ for more information about how to inspect a hive.

3.1 A beekeeper must examine each apiary under their control by visually inspecting each hive for general hive strength and for the presence of pests and diseases. Inspections must be carried out:

(a) In a manner that will enable likely detection of any visual evidence of a pest or disease present in the hive and at least involving the visual inspection of the equivalent of three full-depth frames of brood after shaking off adult bees, and
(b) as often as necessary to minimise inter-hive spread of any pest or disease and/or colony death, and
(c) in any other case at least twice in every year, at a minimum of four (4) consecutive calendar months apart.

3.2 In at least two inspections per year (at a minimum of four consecutive calendar months apart) at least one hive in each apiary must be examined for the presence of arthropod pests, including Varroa and Tropilaelaps mites, using one of the following methods:

(a) Sugar shake
(b) Alcohol wash
(c) Drone uncapping

Download the Code

Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice

The Code of Practice is also available in Greek, Arabic, Italian and Turkish