Introduction & Legal

Introduction and Legal Requirements

Why do you want to become a beekeeper? Most people want to be a beekeeper for the delicious golden honey those busy bees produce. However, the most important work our bees do is to pollinate the food we eat. Without bees the world could starve. So looking after our bees is highly important. You may have another reason to keep bees, whatever your reason, its all interesting and fun.

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Before you decide to become a beekeeper

Its important to know if you are allergic to bee stings or not. If you are, then beekeeping is not for you. If you haven’t been stung for awhile and are not sure, then work with another beekeeper to find out, before spending money on equipment. It is very rare to be allergic to bee stings. It is normal to swell and become itchy.

Some prospective beekeepers have more skills than others in constructing the equipment such as the hives and frames. Those with woodworking skills tend to have wooden hives, and those that don’t tend to buy ready made plastic hives. Some people have to consider the ability to lift as boxes containing 8 frames full of honey are very heavy, but there are ways around that.

There are many different management systems for you and your bees and its just a case of choosing the management methods that best suit your skills. Maybe you have decided you want to take up beekeeping but don’t have skills in constructing hives, and the knowledge yet to manage bees properly. Or you may feel you don’t have the strength. There are plenty of people out there just like you, and this is where we can help you. By joining your local Beekeeping club you can be allocated a mentor and learn your skills from the support the mentor and club will give you.

We hope to show you many ways to become a beekeeper using the skills you have, learning new skills and finding a way around the skills you don’t have.

Legal Requirements

Bees cannot be kept without the Beekeeper being registered. This is FREE for 1 – 5 hives, for more hives cost is very reasonable and covers replacing equipment should you need compensation. Beekeeping for beginners | Honey bees | Livestock and animals | Agriculture Victoria will provide you with many useful details.Registration is free for up to 5 hives. To register and find out more, go to Home – BeeMAX (agriculture.vic.gov.au). Once registered your number needs to be stencilled or burnt onto your hives.

Check your Local Council Rules regarding how many hives you may keep on a Suburban block and how to remain friends with your neighbours.
Look up the following Apiary Biosecurity Code of Practice for all sorts of interesting information.

Free Downloads:

  1. Australian-Honey-Bee-Industry-Biosecurity-Code-of-Practice.pdf (beeaware.org.au)
  2. Instructions for using a smoker
  3. Step by step beekeeping