Movement of hives in general emergency zone

Registered beekeepers can now submit a Hive Movement Declaration to move their honeybees and hives in low risk areas of the State - primarily for hives that are in the blue general emergency zone.

The plan has been carefully developed through a risk-based approach to enable business continuity and critical pollination services for registered beekeepers in certain parts of NSW.

NSW DPI has worked in consultation with the apiary and horticultural industries in NSW to develop this approach.

The Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order 2022 makes allowance for registered beekeepers to move hives in low risk areas of NSW, while the standstill of movement of beehives remains in place.

Who can submit a declaration, and move bees and hives?

This permit only applies to a person (or corporation) who has

The Hive Movement Declaration is permitted primarily for hives that are in the General Biosecurity Zone (blue zone).

The movement of any hive that has been in the following areas in the 24 month period prior to the date of the proposed movement is not permitted:

  • eradication emergency (red) zone
  • surveillance emergency (purple) zone.

It may be possible to apply for a permit to move your bees and hives within the surveillance emergency (purple) zone. Call the Hotline on 1800 084 881 to discuss.

The movement of any hive that has been in the Narrabri emergency zones after 30 April 2022 is not permitted.

  • This means, the movement of hives that were in the Narrabri zones before 30 April 2022 can occur, once a Hive Movement Declaration has been completed.

The movement of any hive that has been in the Coffs Harbour emergency zones after 1st January 2022 is not permitted.

  • This means, the movement of hives that were in the Coffs Harbour emergency zones before 1st January 2022 can occur, once a Hive Movement Declaration has been completed.

Requirements

Step What to do
Step 1

Alcohol washes

You have completed alcohol washes of the hives to be moved and they are free of Varroa mite

  • Less than 640 hives = 64 hives must be tested
  • 640 hives or more = 10% of hives to be moved must be tested

You may have already started alcohol washes.

Make sure you keep a record of alcohol washes completed, as per the required number above.

Step 2

Information you need

A current NSW or interstate commercial beekeeping registration number.

Make sure you are moving hives within a General Biosecurity Zone (blue zone).

The movement of any hive that has been in the Narrabri emergency zone after 30 April 2022 is not permitted.

The movement of any hive that has been in the Coffs Harbour emergency zones after 1st January 2022 is not permitted.

The movement of any hive that has been in the Varroa mite eradication emergency zone, Varroa mite surveillance emergency zone or Varroa mite notification emergency zone in the 24 month period prior to the date of the proposed movement, is not permitted.

It is required, that beekeepers maintain historical movement records for all hives to be moved, as required by the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Australian Honeybee Biosecurity Code of Practice.

Step 3

Complete online course

Once done, make sure you save the completion certificate.

Step 4

Hive movement declaration form

Once completed, you will have a copy of the declaration emailed to you.

Step 5

Now able to move

When travelling, you must

  • have a copy of your completed Hive Movement Declaration
  • transport hives in a manner that prevents the escape or entry of bees out of or into those hives
  • avoid travelling in eradication (red), and surveillance (purple) zones where possible.

Penalties for not complying

Penalties for contravening an Emergency Order or a condition of a permit can be up to $1.1 million or imprisonment for 3 years for individuals and $2.2 million for corporations.

Beekeepers are reminded that giving false or misleading information is a serious offence under both the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Crimes Act 1900.

Privacy

Information (which may include personal information) is collected by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (part of the Department of Regional NSW) in relation to its functions under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

You are required to provide this information if you are proposing to move hives in accordance with the group permit.

The Department of Regional NSW may use and disclose this information as reasonably necessary for the purpose of performing biosecurity risk functions under, or reasonably contemplated by, the Biosecurity Act 2015.

If you would like to gain access to, or amend your personal information, or require more details about privacy please contact us at gipa@regional.nsw.gov.au

Frequently asked questions

Registered beekeepers in the blue zone can submit a Hive Movement Declaration to move hives and bees within the blue zone.

They need to comply with all requirements including:

Registered beekeeper in the red and purple zone can move hives and bees within a single property, apiary site or apiary range for surveillance and authorised destruction. The bees and hive must remain within the same zone.

It may be possible to apply for a permit to move hives for other reasons. Call the Hotline on 1800 084 881 to discuss.

The movement of any hive that has been in the following areas in the 24 month period prior to the date of the proposed movement is not permitted:

  • eradication emergency (red) zone
  • surveillance emergency (purple) zone

The movement of any hive that has been in the Narrabri emergency zones after 30 April 2022 is not permitted.

  • This means the movement of hives that were in the Narrabri zones before 30 April 2022 can be moved, once a Hive Movement Declaration has been completed.

The movement of any hive that has been in the Coffs Harbour emergency zones after 1st January 2022 is not permitted.

  • This means the movement of hives that were in the Coffs Harbour emergency zones before 1st January 2022 can occur, once a Hive Movement Declaration has been completed.

As long as your application complies with the Hive Movement Declaration requirements, you will be able to print and use it immediately.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW, or Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW Northern Region can assist beekeepers with forms

  • RFCS NSW - 1800 319 458
  • RFCS NR – 1800 344 090

Yes you need to submit a new Hive Movement Declaration when you want to move your honeybees and hives again.

No, a copy of the declaration and the emergency group permit must be carried by those transporting the declared hives.

The online course will take approximately 20-40 minutes to complete.

Go to the online course via Tocal College.

All registered beekeepers are required to conduct alcohol washes at least once in every 16 week period.

Beekeepers can report results of alcohol washes to NSW DPI by calling 1800 084 881 or by filling in the form at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/alcohol-wash.

Records must also be kept by the beekeeper for five years.

Beekeepers are no longer required to wash hives before they move, provided that the apiary proposed to be moved has been subjected to at least one wash under the new requirements. The requirement to wash all apiaries three times per year will address the risk of unknown infestations.

Alcohol wash has been determined as a more effective test for this purpose, and therefore the only testing method acceptable for Hive Movement Declaration applications.

No. NSW DPI will be carrying out compliance checks. We’re working with beekeepers and growers to ensure that the permit requirements are followed to allow business continuity.

The Biosecurity Emergency Group Permit remains valid until any amendment or cancellation. Remember, you need to complete the declaration form for every movement of honeybees and hives, even if you are returning to the same location.

This is a requirement under the Biosecurity (Varroa mite) Emergency Order 2022

Hives must be transported in a manner that prevents the escape or entry of bees out of or into those hives.

It is not required to cover your hives when travelling. However if travelling during the day it is recommended to cover your hives with netting.

Hives must be transported in a manner that prevents escape or entry of bees out of or into those hives.

Registered beekeepers must not transit through the Varroa mite eradication emergency (red) zone, Varroa mite surveillance emergency (purple) zone or the Varroa mite notification (yellow) emergency zone. Beekeepers must transit NSW in the shortest possible time and the hives must not remain within NSW for longer than 48 hours.

Hives and honeybees that have been in an eradication zone (red zone) within the past 24 months or in the Narrabri emergency zone since 30 April 2022 are not permitted to be moved.

See additional information about entry conditions to other states:

NSW beekeepers are not permitted to move hives into Victoria.

For more information see the Victorian Government website

The movement plan allowing approved registered beekeepers to move hives has been developed through a risk-based approach. This means that risk has been assessed, and we've worked to put as many actions in place to ensure that risk of Varroa mite moving to other parts of NSW is as low as possible.

The actions to keep risk as low as possible include:

  • requiring beekeepers to alcohol wash hives prior to moving (the number required dependent on how many hives owned to be moved)
  • only permitting honeybee and hive movement between low risk areas of the State (Emergency (blue) Zone)
  • requiring beekeepers to complete the Tocal Varroa mite online training within twelve months before hive movement
  • requiring beekeepers to provide details of the proposed movements by completing the Hive Movement Declaration
  • requiring beekeepers to declare they have not been in the relevant emergency zones (as noted above)
  • intensive surveillance at pollination services locations, using strips and sticky mats which are checked regularly across some hives.