All beekeepers, both amateur and commercial, must be registered under new State Biosecurity and Agricultural Management laws introduced this month to protect the viability of Western Australia’s bee, cropping and horticulture industries.
Department of Agriculture and Food senior apiculturist Bill Trend said registration was now mandatory for commercial apiarists and backyard beekeepers alike.
“Once registered, beekeepers are allocated a hive identifier which is printed on their registration certificate. This identifier must be displayed on all beehives,” Mr Trend said.
“Registration helps government and industry to control bee pests and diseases and prevent residues in hives. Branding also allows the department’s apiary inspectors to identify owners and notify them of pests, diseases, vandalism, theft and other problems,” he said.
Beekeepers can register by downloading a form from the department’s website at agric.wa.gov.au or by ringing the Brands Office on 9780 6207.
Mr Trend said Western Australia was fortunate to be free of many pests and diseases that were a problem for bees elsewhere.
“Good biosecurity practices are essential to ensure we remain free of exotic pests and diseases that would impact on our bee industry and on agricultural and horticultural production which relies on honey bees for crop pollination,” Mr Trend said.
“Healthy bees are vital for making honey and other hive products locally and for pollinating our food plants. Our bees are also valuable exports, capable of assisting countries where bee populations have fallen.”
Mr Trend said under the new laws, beekeepers must follow requirements to care for their hives and protect them against new pests and diseases.
“Any used hive components not currently employed to house bees must be stored securely so that bees cannot enter them,” he said.
“Beekeepers must avoid exposing honey, honeycombs and used hives to prevent bees robbing them, and avoid storing hive products in a way that attracts declared pests to breed and develop in them.
“It is also wise to have honey, bees and brood combs regularly analysed by a certified laboratory.”
Any signs of pests or disease should be reported to DAFWA’s Pest and Disease Information Service Freecall 1800 084 881.
Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937