Movement of hives in general emergency zone

Registered commercial beekeepers can now submit a Hive Movement Declaration to move their honeybees and hives in low risk areas of the State.

The plan has been carefully developed through a risk-based approach to enable business continuity and critical pollination services for registered commercial 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 Emergency Group Permit (PDF, 180.15 KB) makes allowance for some registered commercial beekeepers to move hives in low risk areas of NSW, while the standstill of movement of beehives remains in place as per the current Biosecurity (Varroa Mite) Emergency Order 2022.

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
  • notification emergency zone (yellow) 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 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 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 both your completed Hive Movement Declaration and the Biosecurity Emergency Group Permit (PDF, 180.15 KB)
  • transport hives in a manner that prevents the escape or entry of bees out of or into those hives
  • avoid travelling in eradication (red), surveillance (purple) and notification (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.

Apiarists 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

The movement plan allowing approved registered commercial 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 training on the permit, what's required of them and learning more on the Varroa mite
  • 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.

The permit applies to registered commercial beekeepers.

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

The Hive Movement Declaration is permitted primarily for hives that are in the Emergency (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
  • notification emergency zone (yellow) 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 can be moved, once a Hive Movement Declaration has been completed.

Once submitted, your application will be able to be printed, and you are able to move hives and honeybees as you have stated in the application.

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

NSW beekeepers are not permitted to move hives into Victoria.

For more information see the Victorian Government website

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.

Hives may be moved anywhere between low risk areas of the State (Emergency (blue) Zone) for pollination, or to access nectar sources. This will assist with pollination requirements across NSW.

NSW DPI will be ensuring that beekeepers and growers are following the procedures.

There will be surveillance undertaken on hives to ensure that no varroa is detected outside current biosecurity zone using mite control strips and mats.

Compliance checks will also be undertaken to ensure that requirements of the permit have been followed for beekeepers and growers.

No, there are no impacts on bees themselves. The miticide strips are only being placed in 20 hives per enterprise and in accordance with the APVMA permit, strips are planned to be in place for three days (the APVMA permit allows for up to six days). If honey is to be harvested from the hive the honey must be tested to ensure it is below the maximum residue limit. Where possible we will target hives without supers.

You must keep an electronic or written record of your alcohol wash testing and complete the minimum amount of tests before completing the Hive Movement Declaration.

These records must be kept for five years.

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

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 required under the Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice and is legislated under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

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.

Biosecurity Emergency Group Permit – Movement Qld Transit for registered beekeepers to transit through NSW to and from QLD has been announced. 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.

A copy (electronic or paper) of this Group Emergency Permit should be carried by beekeepers while transporting the hives and evidence of NSW or Queensland registration.

See additional information about entry conditions to other states: