Beekeeping (honey bees)

24.05.17

European honey bees (Apis mellifera) are the most common species of bee used for beekeeping in Australia. Honeybees are kept primarily for honey, bees wax, package bees and, increasingly, to provide pollination services for food and seed crops.

 and there are also state and amateur associations.

Honeybee facts and figures

  • Australian honey is consumed in more than 38 countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Canada, UK and Malaysia
  • The honey bee industry’s gross value of production is valued around AU$99 million
  • There are approximately 20,000 registered beekeepers across Australia operating around 647,000 hives
  • Honey bees communicate the location and type of food resources through complex movements and chemical signals

Production status

There are approximately 20,000 registered beekeepers across Australia producing between 25,000 and 30,000 tonnes of honey annually. Bees also contribute to the Australian economy, indirectly, through free pollination services. Honey bee pollination was predicted to be worth between AU$4-6 billion to the economy. Just under half of commercial beekeepers were engaged in paid pollination services.

The majority of registered beekeepers are in New South Wales (45%) while the rest are in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. Most commercial beekeepers keep between 400 and 800 hives, although some have over 10,000.

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Map of current and potential growing regions

. Information on viruses which impact commercial honeybees is available from  on the Plant Health Australia website. Further information on specific disease and control requirements is available from state departments of agriculture.