Small Hive Beetle

​​​​​​​Key messages

  • ​​Biosecurity Tasmania continues to investigate the detection of two small hive beetles in East Devonport. These detections do not mean that small hive beetle is established in Tasmania.​  Biosecurity Tasmania will be conducting two further rounds of inspections, one in January and one in March 2024.

  • ​Effective from Wednesday 29 November 2023, the Bee Movement Restriction Area (BMRA) as declared in the General Biosecurity Direction has been reduced to a radius of 1.5km– a map can be seen here: Bee Movement Restriction Area interactive map

  • Also effective from Wednesday 29 November, Biosecurity Tasmania is lifting the moratorium on the opening of beehives and the harvest of honey and honeycomb within the BMRA. 
  • Movement restrictions remain in place within the BMRA. Beekeepers must not move bees, beehives, captured swarms, nucleus colonies, honey, honeycomb, wax or used beekeeping equipment in, out or within the BMRA.

  • Biosecurity Tasmania is calling on the community to report any wild or unregistered beehives within the 5km BMRA on to Biosecurity Tasmania (03) 6165 3777.

Please contact Biosecurity Tasmania on (03) 6165 3777 if any of the following apply to you:

  • You need to arrange for the biosecurity tape to be removed from your hive(s)
  • ​You are within the 1.5km BMRA and believe you must move your bees, hive(s) or used beekeeping equipment for any reason.
  • ​You are in the 1.5km BMRA and would like to capture a swarm to add to your beehive.
  • You would like to report a wild or unregistered beehive within the 1.5km BMRA.
  • Your business is affected by these restrictions, and you would like to speak to someone at Biosecurity Tasmania. ​

Moratorium on ​opening hives​​

Effective from 29 November 2023, the moratorium on the opening of beehives and the harvest of honey and honeycomb within the BMRA placed by Biosecurity Tasmania on 12 March, has now been lifted.

If you are in the 1.5km BMRA you can now open your hives for management and the collection of honey, honeycomb or wax. However, any beekeeping equipment and hive components must be sourced from your property as movement restrictions are still in place. Please contact Biosecurity Tasmania on (03) 6165 3777 to arrange for protective tape to be removed from your hives.

A map of the BMRA can be seen here: Bee Movement Restriction Area interactive map

Current response information​

The 1.5km Bee Movement Restriction Area remains in place. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions​ page for more information.

Small hive beetle detections

Biosecurity Tasmania continues to investigate the detection of two small hive beetles in East Devonport. Both specimens were found as part of Biosecurity Tasmania’s extensive monitoring program – this is an example of our world class biosecurity system working.

Biosecurity Tasmania has enacted emergency management protocols including extensive hive and site inspection within the BMRA. This approach is designed to protect the health of Tasmania's bee population and our honey and pollination sectors.

Biosecurity Tasmania will be conducting two further rounds of inspections, one in January and one in March 2024.

Small hive beetle,  is present in all Australian states except the Northern Territory and Tasmania. 

Following the initial detection, Tasmania's Chief Plant Protection Officer, Andrew Bishop, declared a General Biosecurity Direction, which established a 15km Bee Movement Restriction Area around the detection site and restricted the movement within, into and out of the zone.​ On 29 November 2023, the Bee Movement Restriction Area was reduced to a radius of 1.5km.​​

 General Biosecurity Direction (Small Hive Beetle) 29 November 2023 (PDF 369Kb)

​​The 1.5km BMRA remains in place.

Capturing swarms

Beekeepers may want to capture swarms to add to their hives. Capturing swarms is supported by Biosecurity Tasmania, however if you are within the 1.5km BMRA some restrictions apply and you must first contact us on (03) 6165 3777 to obtain a free permit.

This process will allow Biosecurity Tasmania officers to record the location of the swarm and the intended destination. It will also enable officers to inspect the remaining wild hive for any traces of small hive beetle.  Traceability plays a key role in a successful response and will be vital if more small hive beetles are found.

Honey movement

Although beekeepers within the BMRA can now harvest honey and other products from their hives, movement restrictions remain in place. Beekeepers must not move any products, including honey, originating inside the BMRA, within, or out of the BMRA.

Unfiltered Tasmanian honey can be moved into the 1.5km BMRA. Beekeepers can bring honey harvested outside of the BMRA into the BMRA for processing and distribution under the group permit below.​​

 CPPO Group Permit GP2 GD4 SHB 11 23 (PDF 63Kb)

Members of the public can also bring raw Tasmanian honey and honeycomb purchased outside of the BMRA back into the BMRA for consumption.

Group permit

Hives and bee equipment originating outside of the BMRA can transit through the Area (eg from Smithton to Launceston) under the group permit below.​​

 CPPO Group Permit GP GD4 SHB 11 23 (PDF 62Kb)

Information sheets
The following info sheet has been developed and will be updated as required:

 SHB Info Sheet Beekeepers 29 November 23 (PDF 434Kb)

​Reporting wild beehives

Biosecurity Tasmania is calling on the community to report any wild or unregistered beehives within the 1.5km BMRA on to Biosecurity Tasmania (03) 6165 3777. 

Wild and unregistered beehives pose a risk of harbouring SHB if they remain unchecked. Wild hives can be found in enclosed cavities such as inside tree hollows, walls, chimneys, and compost bins. Please do not approach bees or beehives. If you see a wild hive, note the location and report it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible.​​

Compulsory beekeeper registration

Registrati​on is now compulsory for all current Tasmanian commercial and recreational beekeepers. Registration is one of the best measures to prevent the spread of unwanted pests and diseases as it allows Biosecurity Tasmania to readily trace and contact beekeepers in the event of an incursion.

Current Tasmanian beekeepers must register with Biosecurity Tasmania. Beekeepers who previously registered voluntarily with Biosecurity Tasmania will need to re-register with the new system. Previous registration will not be automatically transferred.​

Penalties may apply for failing to register if you currently keep bees either commercially or recreationally. There is no cost to register, and registration will remain free until 31 March 2025.​

For more information or to register visit​.​

Small hive beetle

Prior to 2022 SHB was not known to exist in Australia. It is now present throughout Qld, Vic, the ACT and in parts of SA and WA.​​

In its larvae stage, SHB burrows into beehives consuming brood, pollen and honey, which can significantly damage the beehive population and honey production.

Further information on SHB can be sourced on the 'BeeAware' webpage (now the go-to pest and disease reference site).

Colour photograph showing a close up of the small hive beetle larva.
Small hive beetle larva
Division of Plant Industry,
University of Florida

Colour photograph of Aethina tumida, adult dorsal view (thumbnail).
Small hive beetle - adult dorsal view

(Click on the image to see a larger version)
Copyright: Jeffrey Lotz, Division of Plant Industry,
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Adult SHB are broad flattened beetles about 5-7 mm long and are dark brown to nearly black in colour. Larvae are elongate white grubs. Pupae are white to brown and are found in soil beneath the hive. Stages from egg to adult takes 38-81 days with five generations a year. Adults and larvae inhabit hives where they feed on stored honey and pollen, damaging combs and killing broods. Honey ferments and bubbles out of the cells. The damage caused by SHB in the Western Hemisphere is so severe that thousands of hives are killed by it each year. ​

Also see the following related link:
Embargo on Beekeeping Equipment


Biosecurity Enquiries