Protecting hives

Beekeepers must not allow hives or appliances to become exposed or neglected

Whenever they have the opportunity, bees will forage from an unprotected source of honey or sugar. This includes entering weak hives that cannot defend themselves against robber bees. Since this is a major way in which bees from different colonies come into contact with each other, it is also a major pathway for the spread of pests and diseases.

If hives are neglected or abandoned, they will most likely become weak enough to be robbed by other bees nearby and any pests or diseases they are carrying will be transmitted back to the hives the robber bees came from.

Similarly, any appliances or equipment that contain or come into contact with honey or wax could attract robber bees. This includes unused frames and supers. Any such equipment or appliances should either be destroyed or kept in a secure area that robber bees will not have access to, such as a shed or basement until they are needed again. If unused frames contain comb, it is a good idea to keep them in a refrigerator or cool room to protect them from wax moth as well as robber bees.

7.1 A beekeeper must not allow a used hive, part of a used hive (including frames, combs, honey or beeswax) or an appliance containing honey to be exposed in a manner or under conditions likely to attract robber bees; including during transportation.
7.2 A beekeeper must not do any of the following:

(a) abandon a hive previously kept by the beekeeper, or
(b) neglect the management or care of a hive kept by the beekeeper to the extent that the hive is likely to become infected with disease or attract robber bees, or
(c) fail to destroy or properly dispose of any unwanted bees or part of a hive (including frames, combs, honey or beeswax).

7.3 A beekeeper must ensure bees under his or her care have access to water suitable to sustain the bees.

Download the Code

Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice

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