Beekeeper - General Biosecurity Duty

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​As a beekeeper in Tasmania, whether you keep bees as a hobby or for commercial purposes, you have an important role to play in helping to protect your bees, the bee keeping industry and the state from the harmful impacts of pests, weeds and diseases.   

Listed below are some biosecurity actions you can take to meet your general biosecurity duty (GBD)​ and to help keep your business - and Tasmania - biosecurity safe.

Important information​

​​Beekeeper registration is now compulsory in Tasmania.

​​​​​​​There are new conditions associated with registration, meaning any Tasmanian beekeepers currently registered voluntarily with Biosecurity Tasmania will need to re-register using BeeTAS. 

For more information visit our beekeeper registration webpage.

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.

​​Varroa Mite

Following recent detections of Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) in NSW, the Tasmanian Chief Plant Protection Officer has put in place a General Biosecurity Direction (Emergency) to further prevent the introduction of this honeybee parasite into Tasmania. There are rules for moving bees, apiary products and used apiary equipment​ to help keep Tasmania safe.

Develop a bios​​ecurity plan​

Developing and implementing an appropriate biosecurity plan is a key step that you can take. Biosecurity plans should contain actions aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of: 

  • pests 
  • weeds 
  • disease 

They are also a good way to educate staff and visitors on the importance of biosecurity. 

There are many on-line resources to to help you create a biosecurity plan. The BeeAware website​​ is a great starting point.​​

Important biosecurity actions​​

Biose​​curity vigilance (also known as Notification of a Biosecurity Event)​

  • If you SEE something at one of your hive sites that is unusual or of biosecurity concern, such as potential exotic plant/animal pests, weeds or diseases, or invasive animal species;

  • SECURE the site by restricting access (and limiting movement in the case of suspected animal diseases) AND take a photo, noting the location; and then,

  • REPORT it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible. 

Bee pest vigilance

  • Notify Biosecurity Tasmania if you identify or suspect your bees have specified pests or diseases such as American foulbrood (AFB), European foulbrood (EFB).

  • Notify Biosecurity Tasmania of the presence or suspected presence of pests and diseases not endemic in Tasmania or Australia such as varroa mitesmall hive beetle and Asian honeybee immediately.

Please note: Taking samples in the field may increase the risk of spreading the biosecurity risk so Biosecurity Tasmania will provide further instruction regarding possible sample collection and submission.

  • Register as a beekeeper if you have at least one hive. Registration is compulsory in Tasmania. Find out more on the beekeeper registration webpage.

  • Abide by all regulations and code​s of practice​ pertaining to apiary activities under the relevant Tasmanian legislation.​

  • Ensure that you have your name and address displayed on an external vertical face of the hive in lettering that is – (a) indelible; and (b) at least 25 millimetres high; and (c) of a contrasting colour to that face of the hive. If you have 10 or less hives, at least one must have identification. For more than 10 hives, 1 in 10 must be marked.

  • If you would like to participate in the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program - please contact Biosecurity Tasmania for further details.

  • Liaise regularly with agriculture producers and landowners in the area around your hive sites to ensure accidental hive poisoning from sprays does not occur.

  • Report suspected bee poisoning events from spray drift immediately to the NRE Tas Spray Referral Unit (1800 005 244). Visit the website for more information.

  • Securely contain honey and hive ware so it is not exposed to robber bees.​

  • Please ensure you comply with current import requirements for bees, apiary products and used apiary equipment. Visit our Importing Animals​ webpage for more information.​

  • Maintain clear access to all beehives.

  • Ensure any apiary products you feed to bees are free from AFB.

  • Keep bees in a hive with moveable frames in the brood chamber.

  • Ensure that you do not neglect or abandon any hive, and that you sell or dispose of any hives appropriately if no longer needed.

Some essential actions when moving between hive sites include:

  • Record any hive movements, lost or stolen hives and sales or disposals.

  • Before arrival at a site – contact the landowner or manager and determine whether there are any specific biosecurity protocols which you will need to follow.  

  • Ensure that your clothes, vehicles, hives and equipment are clean on arrival and free of soil and plant material (such as weed seeds). 

  • Upon arrival – obey any biosecurity signage information and sign the visitor register if there is one in use. 

  • Use designated laneways and tracks where possible, avoid travelling across agricultural production areas and ensure clothes, vehicles and equipment are clean prior to going off track into paddocks, bushland or similar.

  • Leave farm gates as you found them (i.e. open or closed), unless otherwise instructed by the property owner or manager, or signage.  Report any damage to fences to the property owner/manager to prevent the escape or entry of livestock or other animals.   

  • Ensure that agricultural and veterinary chemicals are used as per label or applicable off-label permit (i.e. appropriately to minimise risk to human health, animal health, plant health and the environment). Visit the website for information on AgVet chemical use in Tasmania.

  • When you leave the property – make sure your vehicle and equipment are cleaned (if on-site facilities are available) or at a minimum ensure you clean down your vehicle and equipment before entering the next property. Carrying a basic, personal biosecurity kit is a good way of decontaminating vehicles, clothing and equipment. Recommended contents and instructions on putting a kit together can be found at the Farm Biosecurity website.  ​​

Importing items into Tasmania

Beekeeping codes and guidelines​​

Important information

​​The Animal Health (Apiaries) Regulations 2011 expired on 26 December 2021.​

​Transitional arrangements under the Biosecurity Act 2019, known as a General Biosecurity Direction, have been put in place to extend the current Regulation requirements, while Tasmanian beekeepers have an opportunity to register under new compulsory registration arrangements​.

Please visit our webpage for a copy of Biosecurity Direction (Apiaries) 15/12/2022​.

The Australian Honeyb​ee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice

This code is based on the principles of good biosecurity and aims to provide a clear framework for Australian beekeepers to engage in best-practice biosecurity methods.​

The Tasmanian Foulbrood Best Management Practice Guideline

This Best Management Practice (BMP) Guideline is intended as a guide for people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of the managed honey bee (Apis mellifera spp.).

It sets out expectations of Tasmanian beekeepers under Section Four of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice, which has been developed in consultation with beekeepers and governments to provide a clear framework for Australian beekeepers to engage in best‐practice biosecurity. 

This document replaces the former Tasmanian 'Oxytetracycline (OTC) Code of Practice'.

Contact and reporting

Contact Biosecurity Tasmania for general information or to report a suspected pest, weed or disease:

Phone: (03) 6165 3777

​​​Alternatively, for reporting pests, weeds or diseases, you can call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881 or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 858

​Stay up to date​

Subscribing to get Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. ​​

​​Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfa​re, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity.​

Please note that this information contains minimum recommendations only. The GBD requires a person dealing with biosecurity matter or a carrier to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk associated with the dealing. Such measures may not be specified in any regulations, guidelines or other official publications.​