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Keeping bees

The keeping of bees in residential areas is permitted as a hobby provided you comply with the following requirements:

  • No commercial operation is to be undertaken, unless it is permissible within the land use zone of your premises and prior development consent has been obtained.
  • All provisions of the Apiaries Act 1985 are complied with at all times.
  • All hives are to be registered with NSW Department of Primary Industries.
  • The keeping of the bees complies with the Beekeeping Code of Practice of NSW(98KB, PDF).

It is recommended that you speak with your neighbours before keeping bees at your premises.

Complaints regarding the keeping of bees shall be directed to NSW Primary Industries on 1800 680 244 or online

Keeping honey bees in your backyard

Beekeeping is not only an enjoyable hobby, it is very rewarding. You and your bees play a vital role in the pollination of agricultural crops, like fruits and vegetables, which is critical to global food security, as well as producing honey and beeswax. 

Some points need to be considered in relation to backyard beekeeping:

  • Legal requirements
  • Neighbours
  • The number of hives 
  • Water source for the bees 
  • Location and positioning of the hive/s
  • Bee diseases
  • When to handle your bees
  • When to re-queen
  • Swarming. 

In NSW, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) have rules and regulations around the keeping of European Honey Bees (Apis melifera). All NSW beekeepers must be registered with the NSW DPI and adhere to the rules and regulations put in place. This is a requirement legislated under the Biosecurity Act 2015. 

For more information on the rules and regulations, registration as a beekeeper, and the Biosecurity Act 2015 

You can also find out more about the requirements for Keeping bees in residential areas.

BeeAware is also a hub of information for beekeepers and growers about honey bee biosecurity and pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops.

Interested in becoming a beekeeper?

If you are interested in beekeeping it is highly likely that you have already done some research into what it is, and what you need to do. The local amateur beekeepers club, the Macarthur Beekeepers Association Inc (MBA), can provide you with information on what is required to become a beekeeper in NSW, as well as information on looking after your bees and hands on experience working with bees via their field days. 

Macarthur Beekeepers Association Inc is affiliated with the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW (ABA NSW).

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