Beekeeper - General Biosecurity Duty

​​​​​​​​​As a beekeeper in Tasmania, whether you keep bees as a hobbyist 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.

Develop a Biosecurity 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 and disease on your property or where you keep your bees. They are also a good way to educate staff and visitors on the importance of biosecurity. There are many on-line resources to assist with this – the BeeAware website​​ is a great starting point.

Important Biosecurity Actions

Biosecurity 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 endemic pests or diseases such as American foulbrood (AFB), European foulbrood (EFB) within one working day of becoming aware of the problem.

  • Notify Biosecurity Tasmania of the presence or suspected presence of pests and diseases not endemic in Tasmania or Australia such as varroa mite, small 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.

  • Abide by all regulations and codes 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 DPIPWE 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.​

  • Ensure that you have obtained health certificates​ to move queen bees into and out of Tasmania, as well as wax or honey. Only import brand new apiary equipment into Tasmania - used apiary equipment is prohibited.

  • 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

The Australian Honey Bee 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 on Biosecurity in Tasmania

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 welfare, 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.​