Bee requirements & permits

Bees play an important role in the balance of nature. They work hard to pollinate plants and make honey.

Some varieties also have a nasty sting and need to be managed correctly to avoid creating a nuisance on adjoining properties.

Ownership requirements for keeping bees

If you own one or more honeybee hives, you must register as a biosecurity entity with Biosecurity Queensland. A registrable biosecurity entity is allocated a hive identification number (HIN) and only one HIN relates to each biosecurity entity.

If you have registered since 1 July 2016, when the Biosecurity Act 2014 (The Act) came into effect, you were registered as a biosecurity entity and would have received a registered biosecurity entity confirmation/change of details notification. If you have not registered since 1 July 2016 you are no longer registered.

The Act allows for an individual, multiple people, or a business to be registered depending on who owns the hives.

You must also be a member of a recognised beekeeper's association that has an approved code of practice for the keeping of bees.

You do not need to register native beehives.

Managing beehives

One of the primary limitations to keeping bees is the real or perceived interaction between the bees and people who live in or use the surrounding area.

Beehives must be set up and managed so they do not interfere with the community. This includes:

  • setting up hives in a quiet part of the property, away from neighbouring properties, roads, footpaths and parks
  • ensuring beehive is not located within a radius of 10 metres of:
    • a residence on adjoining premises
    • a place used for the manufacture, preparation or storage of food intended for human consumption other than a domestic kitchen used solely for the purpose of the keeper
    • a place used for the storage of food
  • facing hive entrances across your property or, using barriers, such as hedges, shrubs or shade cloth fixed to a trellis, so to shield adjoining properties from bees coming and going
  • managing bee colonies to prevent or minimise swarming – beekeepers are responsible for a swarm and its capture as soon as it forms a cluster
  • ensuring each beehive is adequately identified. The Act requires at least one hive out of every 50 to be marked/branded with the registered hive identification number (HIN).

Visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website to download the Department's Guidelines for beekeeping in Queensland.

For further information or to report bee related issues please contact Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.