Honey Bee industry changes to come in

Les Bryksy is one of the Clare Valley's local honey producers. FILE PHOTO.
Les Bryksy is one of the Clare Valley's local honey producers. FILE PHOTO.

Changes to the honey bee industry’s regulations will soon come into affect – from April 19 – with a forum being held in Clare during May. 

Aimed at increasing productivity and improving pest and disease control, the changes to the regulations follow on from community and industry consultations in 2017. 

Changes include: 

Beekeepers must record specified biosecurity-related management practices that are undertaken.

Bees must be kept in approved hives, including being bee proof, with honeybee access only permitted via specifically designed entrances, whilst swarm catch boxes must only contain foundation, and if not located at the apiarists residence, be additionally branded with their name and telephone number.

Beekeepers must provide water suitable to sustain bees at a distance of not more than 200 m from any hive.

Beekeepers with 50 or more hives must successfully complete a course in bee pest and disease management approved by the Chief Inspector.

Beekeepers will be required to view and understand information on notifiable conditions of bees as part of the annual registration process.

In 2016/17 there were 2034 beekeepers registered with Biosecurity SA with a total of 68,000 hives. 

PIRSA Biosecurity SA bee biosecurity officer Teagan Alexander said the honey industry was a vital part of the agricultural sector.

“...we need to ensure the best possible management of bees which are vulnerable to so many diseases,” Ms Alexander said. 

“Good biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility – from the hobby beekeeper with one hive to the major commercial apiarists.”

Ms Alexander said South Australia was recognised internationally for its honey products.

“Only through strict biosecurity measures can we continue to protect such a precious industry and the livelihoods of hundreds of families,” she said. 

Honey production contributes about $11m to the SA economy.

“These new changes to the livestock regulations will underpin improved practices and accountability which in turn will drive productivity so everyone benefits.”

A phase-in period will occur with PIRSA Biosecurity SA to hold a series of industry information sessions. 

Clare will host a forum on May 7, from 6-8.30pm at the Department of Environment and Water office, 155 Main North Road, Clare.

South Australian Apiarists Association will also host an information session on 17 May (venue to be confirmed).

Please contact the SAAA to register interest on 0419 982 102 or secretary@saaa.org.au