Honey bees

The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) is the peak honey bee industry body that represents the interests of its member state beekeeping organisations and beekeepers from around Australia. Responsibilities of the representative body include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
  • participating in national committees and response efforts in an emergency.

In 2012–13, honey and beewax production was valued at $79 million (LVP). The industry estimates that in 2014, some 12,400 beekeepers were registered, operating nearly 530,000 hives. Apiaries range in size from between one and several thousand hives. Droughts, bushfires and high temperatures reduced production to 13,000 tonnes of honey. The export of live bees has also declined in recent years due to markets closures including the United States but still produces income for beekeepers. In addition, pollination benefits are estimated to have a total paid and unpaid value of $4–6 billion per year.

The honey bee industry is currently a member of both Animal Health Australia and PHA due to the benefits that honey bees provide to pollination-dependent plant industries and their potential to act as a vector for plant pests. Pest emergency responses relating to honey bees are covered under the EPPRD and the industry plans to resign from AHA during 2015.

A national Biosecurity Program and Code of Practice for beekeeping are currently under development.

The honey bee industry is covered by version 1.0 of the honey bee industry biosecurity and the Biosecurity Manual for the Honey Bee Industry Version 1.0.

Future of beekeeping and pollinationPHA submitted a paper to the 2014 Senate inquiry into the future of the beekeeping and pollination service industries in Australia.

Future of Beekeeping and Pollination Service Industries in Australia (March 2014)

Annual value of honey and beeswax production 2007–13 (LVP)

Honey bee bar chart

Distribution of honey and beeswax production by state and territory 2012–13 (based on LVP)

Honey bee pie chart

Honey bee IBP Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the honey bee industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.The Industry Biosecurity Plan for Honey Bee Industry outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email admin@phau.com.au
Honey bee Biosecurity Manual The Biosecurity Manual for Beekeepers provides information for the industry and producers about biosecurity practices and honey bee pests.

Biosecurity Online Training

Honey bee biosecurity module: This online training module provides advice on keeping honey bees healthy using industry best practice.

Apiary biosecurity forms

The following forms are available as editable pdf documents:


Apiary biosecurity signs

There are two templates for biosecurity signs:

  • Honey bee biosecurity sign corflute panel with four eyelets for use on gates to properties or apiary
  • A4 sign that can be staked at each apiary or moved around with each load of hive.
Honey bee Postcard


Promotional postcard to support the exotic plant pest hotline 1800 084 881

Honey bee biosecurity threats


The Honey bee biosecurity threats brochure describes established and exotic pests of honey bees in Australia.


Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of honey bees. These pests were identified during the development of the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Honey Bee Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email admin@phau.com.au for more information.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
African honey bee Apis mellifera scutellata
Africanized honey bee Apis mellifera scutellata (hybrid)
Cape honey bee Apis mellifera capensis
Deformed wing virus Deformed wing virus (Iflavirus)
Hornets Vespa spp. (exotic species)
Large hive beetle Hoplostoma fuligineus
Slow paralysis virus Slow paralysis virus (Iflavirus)
Tracheal mite Acarapis woodi FS
Tropilaelaps mites Tropilaelaps clareae and Tropilaelaps mercedessae FS
Varroa mite Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni FS

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for established pests of the honey bee industry. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
American foulbrood Paenibacillus larvae FS
Asian honey bee Apis cerana (exotic strains, genotypes and sub-species) FS
Black queen cell virus Black queen cell virus (Cripavirus) FS
Braula fly Braula coeca FS
Chalkbrood disease Ascosphaera apis FS
European foulbrood Melissococcus plutonius FS
Greater wax moth Galleria mellonella FS
Lesser wax moth Achroia grisella FS
Nosemosis Nosema apis FS
Nosemosis Nosema ceranae FS
Sacbrood virus Sacbrood virus (Iflavirus) FS
Small hive beetle Aethina tumida FS