Moving bees and hives

Alert

Varroa mite (varroa destructor) has been detected in New South Wales.

A movement control order is in place in Queensland.

You cannot move bees, beehives, used beekeeping equipment or bee products (including unprocessed honey) to Queensland without a permit.

Monitor your hives for unexpected hive deaths, deformed bees, parasites, poor brood patterns and dead brood.

Use our Bee 123 online form to report any checks you make on your hives.

Read the movement control order and visit our eHub for more information.

Moving bees into Queensland

You cannot move bees, hives, used equipment or bee products (including unprocessed honey) to Queensland from any state or territory without a permit.

Find out how to apply for a biosecurity instrument permit.

You can move processed honey and processed beeswax if:

  • honey has been extracted, filtered, strained or settled to remove wax cappings and dead bees
  • it has been packed in a facility without bees
  • the outside of the container, and any frames, pallets and packaging are free from honey or beeswax
  • it is a quarantine secured diagnostic honey sample for testing at a recognised diagnostic facility.

Moving bees within Queensland

You do not need a permit to move bees, hives or equipment within Queensland.

Cairns area

Asian honey bees are considered established in the Cairns area, and the National Management Group has determined it is not technically feasible to eradicate this population. The Cairns population of Asian honey bees does not carry varroa mites.

The known infested area spreads north to Wonga Beach, west of Southedge and Dimbulah, and south to Silky Oak and Euramo. The southern-most extent of the Cairns Asian honey bees population is approximately 185km north from Townsville.

To help stop the spread of Asian honey bees, you should:

  • 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 to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23
  • if you are moving bees and hives within Queensland, 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.

Moving bees to other states and jurisdictions

There are movement controls in most states and territories, which may be subject to change, and beekeepers should monitor the situation before deciding to move bees and/or equipment.

Check with the relevant destination jurisdiction for the latest information.

Transport methods

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.