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Registration as a Beekeeper and Local Government Approval

So you’re thinking of becoming a beekeeper. Here are some things to consider prior to embarking on your beekeeping journey.

Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development (DPIRD)

Bees are livestock and must be registered with DPIRD. Just as cattle, sheep, and pigs are. This is regardless of whether you live on a farm or in the city, or whether you have one hive or hundreds.

Here at Carlaminda we are serious about biosecurity and it is against our policy (and the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations) to sell bees to anyone who does not have a hive brand. It is why we offer a free service to prepare and lodge your DPIRD application for registration as a beekeeper for you if you are not already registered.

However if you wish to complete this yourself you will find the registration is a fairly simple process.

You will need to find an available brand. A hive brand is made up of a combination of 3 letters and numbers and can be chosen by you (so long as it has not already been taken). A hive brand search can be done on the DPIRD website to search for existing brands. If it shows that no records have been found then you’re on a winner and you can write it on the form! The form can then be posted, presented in person at any DPIRD office, or scanned and emailed to the address listed at the top of the form.

Once registered you will receive confirmation of your hive brand. Your brand must then be applied to your livestock. Luckily we are not required to brand every bee! Just every box of our hives. Some also choose to brand their lids, bases, and frames.

Please note that simply painting (or writing) the brand on your hiveware is not sufficient. There are certain standards that must be met. The WA Apiarists' Society has a great section on what these standards are on their Legal Obligations page.

Local Government Approval

Most local government authorities (councils and shires) have their own beekeeping policy and will require approval to keep bees within their jurisdiction. While a lot of work has been done by organisations such as the WA Apiarists’ Society to have a standard policy adopted across the board there is still a fair amount of work to be done to have them all aligned.

While most have the relevant information on their websites, we have found that a simple call to their office is generally more efficient in obtaining the information you need. Although bees are considered livestock we have found beekeeping policies under pest by-laws. So often it ends up being more of an online fishing expedition!

Most local government policies are similar and require certain setbacks from boundary fences, permanent water supply for the bees, hive limits, and notification to neighbours of your intention to keep bees. The approval process is fairly simple and there is usually no fee required.

Selling your Honey

So now you have your DPIRD registration and local government approval. You have your hiveware. You have your bees. You have honey. Lots of honey. Too much honey! And now you want to sell your honey?

I’m afraid that‘s a different kettle of fish and deserves its own article. And as exciting as it sounds, it’s not as easy as simply advertising it on Gumtree or Marketplace.

We need to talk about home kitchens. Registering as a food business. And labelling requirements. There are many things to consider if you wish to head down this path. We will be writing an article soon on this topic alone, so keep your eye out for this!

In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries regarding your legal obligations please feel free to get in touch and we will endeavour to answer any questions you may have.

Helen Humphreys Passionate Beekeeper Trainer | Mentor | Producer

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