Moving bees and hives

Varroa mites have been detected in Townsville.

Following the detection of varroa mites on Asian honey bees in Townsville, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has established the National Varroa Mite Eradication Program. Restrictions apply to the movement of live bees within the Townsville area. Please refer to the Prevention and Control Program (PDF, 3.7KB) and the map of the affected area (PDF, 366KB).

Report sightings of Asian honey bees or feral bee nests in Townsville to 13 25 23.

If you are moving bees and hives, you need to consider the safety of the community, road safety traffic laws and the welfare of the bees. You should carefully plan when you will stop to refuel and when you will travel through built-up areas because bright street lights and traffic signals can cause bees to escape.

There are 3 methods for moving bees: open entrance, closed entrance or netted bee transport. These methods are described below.

Open entrance transport

Open entrance transport is the most common way of moving beehives. Using this method, you load the beehives at dusk or at night after the bees have settled and transport them during the night. You then unload the hives either upon arrival at your destination or at first light the next day.

Closed entrance transport

Beehives can be moved using a conventional station wagon or sedan, as long as the beehive is fitted with adequate ventilation. One of the benefits of using this method of transport is that you can move the hive a short distance and unload it without being stung. You should move beehives at night when temperatures have cooled and all bees are at home in the hive.

Netted bee transport

Beehives can be moved at any time using nets, but it is best to load them at dusk or night when temperatures are cooler. Depending on your location, you can move netted beehives during daylight hours provided temperatures are not too high. You should secure the nets around the beehives so that the bees remain contained during transit.

Restrictions and permits for moving bees

Townsville area

Movement restrictions for honey bees are in place for the Townsville City Council local government area following the detection of varroa mites on Asian honey bees at the Port of Townsville and in surrounding suburbs.

Movement restrictions apply to live bees and any part of a bee hive that may be carrying live bees including:

  • adults
  • brood
  • larvae
  • eggs.

For details of movement restrictions, please refer to the Prevention and Control Program and the map of the affected area.

Report sightings of Asian honey bees or feral bee nests in Townsville to 13 25 23.

Cairns area

It is no longer necessary for beekeepers to obtain written approval from a government inspector to move bees or bee products from Cairns, extending to Palm Cove in the north, Millaa Millaa and Mena Creek in the south, and Mutchilba in the west.

To help stop the spread of Asian honey bees please:

  • check your vessel, vehicle or trailer before travelling long distances
  • have a pest control operator remove any bees that are swarming or nesting on your property
  • report any swarms or nests of Asian honey bees outside the Cairns area, to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

To report sightings of Asian honey bees call 13 25 23.

Moving bees and bee products interstate

Special movement conditions apply when shifting hives interstate. Please contact our Customer Service Centre for more information about these conditions.