Our role supporting industry

NSW DPI maintains an ongoing program of advisory and compliance activities within the beekeeping industry, enhanced by the introduction of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act).

These programs focus on activities and campaigns that:

  • support best practice beekeeping
  • reduce the risks of pests and diseases impacting industry
  • boost registration and compliance.

Compliance operations

Targeted compliance campaigns

DPI conducts targeted, risk-based compliance inspections during pollination seasons for high value horticultural produce.

These operations have primarily focused on the blueberry industry on the NSW North Coast and almonds in the Greater Sunraysia and Northern Riverina areas.

Further operations are planned for the Central West of NSW.

DPI will also conduct compliance operations focusing on amateur beekeeping in the Sydney metropolitan area, inspecting hives for disease status and promoting compliance with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice.

Enforcement activity

DPI has the power to take appropriate enforcement action against beekeepers that demonstrate poor compliance with the Act. The most common breaches for beekeepers are failure to register their hives and failure to report notifiable pests and diseases such as American Foulbrood.

Responding to reports of nuisance bees

DPI will take action against nuisance bee reports if an investigation determines that there is a risk to public health or public safety caused by the bees. Reports of nuisance bees that are deemed high risk are investigated as a priority. To report nuisance bees use the online reporting tool or call NSW DPI on 1800 084 881.

Awareness and preparedness

DPI has increased efforts in improving biosecurity awareness for the beekeeping industry, conducting campaigns that focus on preparedness and awareness of major biosecurity threats, safe beekeeping and the importance of registration.

American Foulbrood (AFB) Awareness Month

AFB Awareness Month aims to raise awareness of AFB by working with clubs and associations across the state to share information and distribute AFB test kits. Advisory material including fact sheets, videos and a new animation target how to manage and report AFB.

Sugar Shake Month

Sugar Shake Month is a joint initiative between the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW and the NSW Apiarists' Association which aims to highlight awareness of bee pests such as varroa, tropilaelaps and braula fly. Sugar shake month promotes the use of the sugar shake technique to detect these pests and encourage immediate reporting of suspect detection to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline.

Diagnostic laboratory testing

NSW DPI’s diagnostic laboratories at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) Menangle, conduct bee disease testing for American foulbrood, European foulbrood, Chalkbrood, Nosema and small hive beetle. Specimens of any unusual brood or adult bee conditions and any parasitic mites can also be submitted for examination.

‘Bee Prepared’

Exercise ‘Bee Prepared’ was conducted in May 2018 and was a simulated emergency response preparing beekeepers for a potential Varroa Mite outbreak.

More than 50 people participated including representatives from DPI, Local Land Services, Plant Health Australia and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources working alongside amateur and commercial beekeepers to act out a scenario to test control strategies for this exotic bee pest.

Industry engagement

NSW DPI works closely with the bee industry and other agencies to raise bee biosecurity awareness.

DPI staff regularly attend field days and industry meetings to improve engagement with beekeepers.

Bee Biosecurity Facebook group

NSW DPI has created the Bee Biosecurity Facebook group as a way to encourage engagement with and among beekeepers and enthusiasts about the importance of biosecurity and share ideas and opportunities to protect our bee hives, economy, environment and community from the harm caused by bee pests and diseases.

If you have an active Facebook account, you can join the group here.

Bee Biosecurity News

The ‘Bee Biosecurity News’ is a quarterly e-newsletter sent to all registered beekeepers keeping them up to date with the most recent biosecurity news and events for the beekeeping industry.

Bee Industry Biosecurity Consultative Committee (BIBCC)

In 2017, NSW DPI established the BIBCC.

We consult with the BIBCC on the continuing protection of the honeybee industry from biosecurity risks and raising the awareness of good biosecurity practices for industry.

The BIBCC meet three times per year and, alongside NSW DPI, is represented by North Shore Beekeepers Association, Amateur Beekeepers Association, NSW Apiarists, Crop Pollination Association Inc. and the NSW Honeybee Biosecurity State Advisory Group.