Becoming a beekeeper in Western Australia

Page last updated: Thursday, 19 December 2019 - 3:35pm

Western Australian honey is among the best in the world. Its jarrah honey has excellent anti-microbial properties, similar to that of Manuka honey from New Zealand but using a different mechanism.

The industry is notable for its freedom from important bee diseases and exports bees to countries such as Canada each year.

Some commercial beekeepers have hundreds of hives, but others may have only a few hives for personal use based in suburban gardens.

In order to maintain high biosecurity standards, beehives need to be registered with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

It is a legal requirement for all beekeepers in Western Australia to be registered with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Upon registration, you will be issued with a certificate and provided a Unique Brand Identifier. Your Brand Identifier must be printed on all your beekeeping equipment (e.g. hives).

Applications can be obtained from the Brands Office (Bunbury) on 1300 926 547 or you can email Brands.Bunbury@dpird.wa.gov.au

Current costs of registration can be obtained at DPIRD Fees, Charges and Procurement.

Additionally, an Agricultural Produce Commission (APC) fee is charged (annually) to assist in bee pest and disease surveillance (i.e. training), particularly for exotic pests such as the Varroa mite.

DPIRD Apiary Officers undertake surveillance and sampling for exotic bee pests and disease. If you have a suspect bee pest or disease concern, please report this to an Apiary Officer at email PBHoney@dpird.wa.gov.au.

DPIRD’s Diagnostics and Laboratory Services is available to test for common bee diseases although there is a fee for this work. The most common bee diseases known in Western Australia are American foulbrood (bacteria) and Chalkbrood (fungus).

Honey bees

The only European honey bee available in Western Australia is Apis mellifera (European honey bee).

Apiaries

An apiary site contains one or more hives. The average commercial apiary site is 100 hives (sometimes fewer when floral resources are limited). These sites can be on a beekeeper’s property, privately negotiated with landholders or on registered apiary sites (under permit) from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions at Beekeeping on Crown land in Western Australia or contact Caz Stonier by email apiary@dbca.wa.gov.au or on 9219 8765.

Buying bees and beekeeping equipment

Newspapers and websites such as Gumtree sometimes advertise equipment and bees for sale or you can catch your own bee swarms, but be aware of the risk of disease. Check with the supplier prior to purchasing to make sure you are satisfied that any bees you are purchasing are disease-free.

Note: Bees and second-hand beekeeping equipment are restricted from entering Western Australia.

Please advise a DPIRD Apiary Officer (PBHoney@dpird.wa.gov.au) or the Bee Industry Council of Western Australia (info@bicwa.com.au) if you have any queries or concerns regarding bees or used beekeeping equipment purchases.

Contact information

Andrea Johnston
+61 (0)8 9363 4131
Simon Eyres
+61 (0)8 9368 3866
James Sheehan
+61 (0)8 9780 6182