Over the past years, there has been an upsurge of interest in beekeeping, particularly as a hobby, in both rural and urban areas. It is a fascinating hobby or commercial operation that gives great rewards and pleasure.
It is a unique activity as the main resources, nectar and pollen, are rarely owned by the beekeeper and the bees are unable to be confined behind a fence.
Successful beekeeping, whether with one hive or many, is achieved through knowledge, understanding, practice and building experience and confidence.
Every third mouthful of food we eat requires pollination by honey bees. Hence, our knowledge and understanding of honey bees is the vital link between honey bees, pollination of food crops and our nation’s ability to securely produce sufficient foods for all Australians and also for export to some overseas countries.
- The value of honey to Queensland’s yearly economy is worth $35 million
- The value of pollination of food crops to Queensland’s yearly economy is worth $1 billion and growing yearly.
Resources and Links
for both commercial and hobby beekeepers
Learn and exchange ideas and knowledge with like-minded beekeepers
- Become a member of the Qld Beekeepers Assoc Inc – see Beekeeping Groups in Qld (to find your nearest QBA Branch) and QBA Membership.
- Join a Beekeeping Club – see Beekeeping Groups in Qld
See below for detailed information on all of the following:
1) Beekeeping Associations
- National and State Beekeeping Associations (see below for full details)
- The Australian Manuka Honey Association (see below for details)
- Other Bee Clubs in Qld (see Contacts page – Beekeeping Groups in Qld)
- B-QUAL Australia Pty Ltd – an independently developed and audited food safety program
2) Publications & Web Sites
(see below for full details)
- Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice
- Guidelines for Keeping Bees in Qld
- Registering as a Beekeeper (& other Qld regulatory information)
- Biosecurity Online training for beekeepers
- Australian Beekeeping Guide
- Biosecurity Manual for the Honeybee Industry
- BEE AgSkills
- The Bee Book – Beekeeping in the Warmer Areas of Australia
- Honey Flora of Queensland
- Honey Levy and Charge
- Cooking with Honey – Recipe Book
- Nature’s Gifts – Answers to questions about Honey, pollen and all things bees
- Bee Friendly – A planting Guide for European Honeybees and Australian Native pollinators
- Honeybee pesticide poisoning – A risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers
- Beekeeping Projects at schools
- The Hive and the Honey Bee – a book on beekeeping
- More than Honey – the future of the Australian honey bee and pollination industries
- Agrifutures Australia – full list of Publications & Resources on Honey Bees & Pollination
A number of beekeeping information videos have been developed by the following organizations:
- Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation
- Primary Industries Health & Safety Partnership
- NSW Department of Agriculture
- NSW Tocal College
Included are many topics ranging from Selecting an Apiary Site, Constructing Beehives and Bee Stings to Best Management Practices, Pollination and Identifying and Managing Bee Pests and Bee Diseases.
(see below for full details)
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council
- The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) is the peak industry body for all beekeepers in Australia which aims to maximise the efficient use of industry resources and funds to ensure the long term economic viability, security and prosperity of the Australian Honey Bee Industry in Australia.
- Members are: the peak beekeeping bodies of all Australian States (as below), Honey Packers and Marketers Association of Australia Inc, National Council of Pollination Associations and the Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association.
- An e-Newsletter is available each month. To receive Newsletters and industry alerts, contact the CEO (Helen Goodall at email@example.com) with your email address.
State Beekeeping Associations
The following are the individual State peak industry bodies for all beekeepers in the respective States
- Qld Beekeepers’ Association Inc
- NSW Apiarists’ Association Inc
- Victorian Apiarists’ Association Inc
- South Australian Apiarists’ Association Inc
- Western Australian Farmers Federation – Beekeepers Section
- Tasmanian Beekeepers’ Association Inc
The Australian Manuka Association
Queensland Beekeepers Association (QBA) is a member of the Australian Manuka Honey Association which is the leading national body for the production and promotion of Manuka honey in Australia.
The Biosecurity Act 2014 (the Act) commenced on 1 July 2016. As a beekeeper you need to take an active role in managing biosecurity risks under your control. You are not expected to know about all biosecurity risks, but you are expected to know about those associated with your day-to-day work and your hobbies. The general biosecurity obligation means you need to ensure your activities do not spread a pest, disease or contaminant.
This web site contains information on regulatory requirements when beekeeping in Queensland, including beekeeper registration and bee site requirements.
Qld Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
A comprehensive guide of what is required by all beekeepers in Queensland, whether owning one hive or thousands. Following the best practices outlined in this guide will help you to meet the safety standards and minimum requirements of beekeeping in Queensland. It explains what beekeepers need to do to meet their responsibilities to the community and the environment. Topics include —
- registration (all beekeepers, with one hive or more, must register as a biosecurity entity with Biosecurity Queensland)
- local and State laws for beekeeping in Qld
- basic work skills for keeping bee hives
- regulatory requitements – hive marking / identification, hive placement (in both residential and rural areas), hive maintenance, identifying, reporting and managing pests and diseases, good beekeeping practice
- keeping bees in residential areas
- queen bees, queen cells
- transporting / moving beehives – regulations and safety
- Apiary sites – on (1)State Native Forests, (2)Plantation Forests on state-owned land, (3)National and Conservation Parks and information on (a)Permit requirements, (b)Lodgement and Fees and (c)Interactive Apiary Site maps.
The Biosecurity for Beekeepers course explains why biosecurity is so important and covers the identification, prevention and spread of bee pests and diseases in the hive.
This course will give you the tools to —
- Check your hives for pests and diseases
- Identify the major pests and diseases of honey bees
- Take action after finding a serious pest or disease in your hive
- Minimise the impact of pests and diseases on your hives
- $20.00 – for Beekeepers with 1-50 hives
- FREE – for Beekeepers with more than 50 hives – contact Rebecca Laws,Qld Bee Biosecurity Officer at Rebecca.Laws@daf.qld.gov.au (ph:07 3708 8367) for your token code to allow access to the training.
A step by step guide to get started is available in the Biosecurity for Beekeepers fact sheet
by Russell Goodman & Peter Kaczynski – (ISBN: 978-1-74254-715-2) – This publication can be downloaded for free or a hard copy purchased.
Published in February 2015, this publication provides a wealth of valuable, basic information about keeping bees and honey bee Biosecurity, written especially to assist beginner and sideline beekeepers.
This web site is packed with information and full colour photos on exotic and established pests and diseases of honey bees and ways beekeepers can identify and respond to these threats.
The BeeAware newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter for beekeepers and growers of pollinator-reliant crops, or anyone interested in beekeeping or the pollination of crops. Each newsletter contains the latest in news, research and development, as well as upcoming events relating to honey bee biosecurity and the pollination of horticultural and agricultural crops. Subscribe to this free newsletter here.
Reducing the risks of exotic and established pests affecting honey bees – (ISBN: 978-0-9872309-2-8) This book can be downloaded for free or a hard copy purchased.
This 60 page, full colour book explains the Biosecurity threats to Australia’s honeybees and provides practical advice to both hobby and commercial beekeepers on how to protect their bees from established and exotic pests and diseases.
B-QUAL is an independently developed and audited food safety program specifically for the Australian honey industry.
Quality standards in food safety are demanded by all customers (from neighbours to markets to shop outlets to packers), wholesalers and governments. Every person who sells honey, whether giving away (even one jar) or selling small quantities or larger, needs to comply with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food Safety Standard (FSANZ) which requires a Hazard Analysis and Critical Point (HACCP) based food safety program.
Being B-QUAL certified allows you to demonstrate and give confidence to consumers, markets, regulatory authorities and the wider community that you are operating in accordance with industry requirements and expectations in relation to food safety and industry best practice.
by NSW Dept of Primary Industries – (ISBN: 0 7313 0603 1) This book can be purchased as an e-Book or hard copy.
This book is an easy to follow, step-by-step guide for those new to beekeeping. It includes information such as how to maintain hives, use a bee smoker, catch a swarm, remove and extract honey, pests and diseases in the hive, buying equipment and working safely with bees.
The Bee Book – beekeeping in the warmer areas of Australia
by Peter Warhurst & Roger Goebels (ISBN: 0 7242 5919 8) For sales, contact author (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Beekeeping Supply Businesses
This is an easy to read, practical and comprehensive book on keeping bees in the warmer area of Australia and written for the hobbyist, part-time and commercial beekeeper. It includes clear pictures, diagrams and photos and is very relevant to our local Qld climate where, in contrast to cooler areas of Australia, bees often continue to breed and gather honey throughout the winter .
It covers basic information on bees, beekeeping practices in Australia, problems and solutions to keeping bees in tropical and subtropical climates as well as bee diseases and their devastating effect, how they are spread, how this can lead to the ruin of a hobby and other beekeeping enterprises in the area and the responsibilities of beekeepers to their fellow beekeepers and to the public at large.
Also discussed are palletisation and the small hive beetle, plus an expanded list of agricultural chemicals and their toxicities to bees.
Honey Flora of Queensland
by TS Blake and C Roff (IBSN: 0 7242 2371 1) This book is presently out-of-print but available in many local Libraries and at Beekeeping Clubs
This book contains plants that are important to beekeepers in south-eastern and northern Queensland. It describes each tree, its distribution, distinctive features and its value as a source of honey and pollen for honeybees and beekeepers.
written by Dr Douglas Somerville, NSW Dept Primary Industries – IBSN: 978 17605 83422 (2009).
- This is a beautifully presented, full colour, easy to follow, comprehensive reference book on the value of the trees and plants of south-eastern Australia. The author begins this publication with a valuable section on the basics of beekeeping (the ideal apiary site, hive stocking rate, bee nutrition) and understanding and describing botantical names. Each plant description includes the availability and value of its honey and pollen to the honey bee.
Honey Levy and Charges
If you produce more than 1,500 kilograms of honey in a calendar year and you sell your honey or use your honey in the production of other goods, you must lodge a return and make a payment to the Australian Department Agriculture & Water Resources.
Paid levies are used to the benefit of all beekeepers in Australia being divided between
- (1) Research and Development (R&D). The majority of research and development of control methods of the Small Hive Beetle was possible with levy money (as one example of this levy benefiting all beekeepers).
- (2) Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) This assists in responses such as the to the Asian bee incursion in Qld and pre-varroa research and training
- (3) National Residue Survey Testing (NRS) This assists all who export honey
- (4) Plant Health Australia (PHA) the beekeeping industry is a member of PHA because Australia’s bees are valued for the pollination services that they provide to many plant industries.
- Honey and other hive products generate around $100 million per year in Australia.
- The contribution of honey bees to agriculture through pollination services is estimated to be 190 times this figure and was valued at around $19 billion per year in Australia in 2017.
Cooking with Honey – Recipe Book
compiled by Marion Weatherhead for the Qld Beekeepers Association Inc (0-646-32875-1) For sales, contact QBA Secretary (email@example.com) or Beekeeping Supply Businesses
This book contains tried and true recipes from many experienced cooks across Queensland with the emphasis on the simplicity of ingredients required for each recipe. Recipes include: main meals,marinades, desserts, baking, drinks, confectionery, jams, relishes and more. Throughout the book there are snippets of information on honey bees, beekeeping, honey and hive products, the Australian apiary industry and cooking hints.
Nature’s Gifts – Answers to questions about Honey, pollen and all things bees
by Athol and Skaidra Craig (ISBN: 978 0 646 01133 5) For sales, contact author (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Beekeeping Supply Businesses
The topics covered in this book have been prompted by the questions most asked of the authors, by the general public and beginner beekeepers, when they were teaching in schools and TAFE colleges, when manning displays at district shows and when discussing the roles of all bees in the environment. A very readable, comprehensive, easy to understand, beautifully illustrated book.
It covers both European honeybees and native bees including:
- products of the hive – honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, comb honey
- extracting honey
- live cycle and specific roles of bees in the hive
- hive equipment
- bee pests and diseases and inspecting hives for good management and health
- honey competitions
- honey recipes
- Australian native bees – stingless, social bees and solitary bees
by Mark Leech and published by AgriFutures Australia (formally RIRDC) (ISBN: 978-1-74254-369-7) This booklet can be downloaded for free or a hard copy purchased
This planting guide for bee forage is particularly timely as there is increasing public concern for the wellbeing and survival of global honeybee populations. This guide to planting choices, from the backyard to the bush and right across our nation, will assist with increasing available bee food.
Honeybee pesticide poisoning – A risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers
by Daryl Connelly and published by AgriFutures Australia (formally RIRDC) (ISBN: 978-1-74254-386-4) This booklet can be downloaded for free or a hard copy purchased
An increase in the number of managed beehives available for crop pollination is crucial to the continued prosperity of the Australian horticulture industry. This booklet will help farmers and beekeepers manage the risk of honeybee pesticide poisoning and provides a list of the broadacre and horticultural pesticides that are known to be toxic to honeybees in Australia. It is hoped this information will encourage more beekeepers to provide managed hives for crop pollination and farmers and beekeepers will be able to form rewarding and mutually beneficial relationships.
Booklet includes –
- a list of broadacre and horticultural pesticides known to be toxic to honeybees in Australia
- outlines good practices for farmers and beekeepers to adopt
- useful forms, contact details and other relevant information
Only 200,000 to 220,000 of Australia’s 500,000 managed beehives are currently utilised for honeybee dependent crop pollination services. If the varroa mite (Varroa destructor) becomes established in Australia, it will wipe out much of the feral honeybee population (mostly found in hollow trees) and 480,000 managed hives will be required to provide pollination services every winter and spring. It is estimated that peak demand could increase this figure to 750,000 hives, far outstripping current supply
The Hive and the Honey Bee – a book on beekeeping
A Dadant Publication (ISBN: 0-915698-09-9)
This is a classic book and a great reference book on honey bees and beekeeping containing 22 chapters, 33 world-famous authors with hundreds of photos and drawings. Also includes updated Africanised honey bee information, parasitic bee mites management, business practices, marketing, hive products, bee behaviour, pesticides, and more.
ISBN printed version: 978-0-642-79057-6 ISBN HTML version: 978-0-642-79058-3
This is a report of the inquiry into the future development of the Australian honey bee industry by the House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Primary Industries and Resources, May 2008
The humble honeybee is one of the most important contributors to the success of Australian agriculture. Many crop and pasture species are heavily or totally reliant on bees for pollination. Commercial prosperity within the agricultural sector requires bees. So does the food security of Australia and the world.
Yet, the Australian honey bee industry faces a number of significant threats and challenges, one being resource security. The honey bee industry is dependent upon native forest for honey production and recovery from pollination operations. As native forests are locked away in National Parks, so the floral resources available to the industry have declined and will continue to decline. Bushfires and land clearing also have a significant impact on the honey bee industry to grow, thus compromising the ability to meet the growing demands for crop pollination..
This report outlines a number of recommendations which, if implemented, will provide resource security for the honey bee industry and pollination dependent industries into the future.
Several other issues facing the honey bee industry and the essential service of pollination for many food crops are outlined in this report.
This site gives a full list of Publications & Resources on Honey Bees & Pollination
(Videos 4 – 10)
This site also includes videos produced by Plant and Food Research NZ. Although produced overseas, these are equally applicable to Australian beekeepers
New beekeeping videos are continually being added to this web site. Some videos on this site are also covered above.
Series of 38 Videos