Disclaimer :- This information has been formulated to assist you in understanding the requirements for beekeeping in South Australia. Please be advised the content is general in nature and all internet links are in the public domain. It is your individual responsibility to understand how the law pertains to your beekeeping situation and this information is of a general nature only.  We do not provide legal advice or assistance with insurance claims.  Please independently contact the relevant government departments should you need information or clarification with your situation.




THE 3 R'S: 







Keeping bees in South Australia is subject to the livestock act, irrespective of 1 hive, 100 or 1000. – You must be registered to keep bees.

PIRSA is the South Australian Government department responsible for managing compliance in the State's beekeeping industryAll beekeepers should be familiar with PIRSA's beekeeping guidelines. Visit PIRSA's beekeeping site here.

Livestock act  2007: Download PDF here

Livestock regulations 2013: Download PDF here

Beehive registration: Download registration form here

Phone PIRSA Biosecurity division on (08) 8207 7900

Apiary registration form 2015: Download PDF here


Local councils

You do not need to register with your local council however you must comply with your individual council bylaws. Please check your council polices online regarding bees as you must comply with these in addition to the livestock act.

Please note these vary from council to council. Your local council polices can be found online via the local government association website.




Each state currently has a code of practice which includes your responsibilities as a beekeeper - available in SA from the PIRSA apiary unit. This code will be sent to you upon registration or contact PIRSA

PIRSA Biosecurity division on (08) 8207 7900

In addition below are 3 manuals which are free to download and provide you with the information you need for best practice as a recreational or commercial beekeeper.

  1. DRAFT National Code Of Practice is currently undergoing consultation Australia wide. The DRAFT CODE can be viewed via the AHBIC ( Australian Honey Bee Industry Council ) website
  2. National Best Management Practice for Beekeeping in the Australian Environment document (2007) Download PDF
  3. National Bee Biosecurity Manual ( 2012) Download PDF

Being a responsible beekeeper does not just pertain to your operation but also includes ensuring other beekeepers are operating within the law. Some individuals acquiring bees may genuinely not realise their obligations however if you discover unregistered, unmanaged, neglected hives please contact:-

 PIRSA Biosecurity division on (08) 8207 7900 

Change of ownership: 

If selling hives of bees ensure you inform the buyer of their responsibilities and complete the relevant change of owner documentation. Download PDF  



Bee AG Skills is a basic guide to some of the skills and practices of bee production. Easy to follow for those new to bee keeping, this book contains step-by-step instructions, diagrams and full-colour pictures. Includes how to maintain hives, use a bee smoker, catch a swarm, remove and extract honey, health and pests in the hive, buying equipment, and working safely with bees. Purchase a physical copy or download an e-book here.


Pests and diseases can attack specific stages in the lifecycle of the honey bee and they can also attack specific castes. This publication covers the management of pests, diseases and other disorders of the honey bee. Purchase a physical copy or download an e-book here.


Bee Friendly is the new publication by Mark Leech that is very useful tool for both commercial and recreational beekeepers. Published January 2013, it's available here free as a PDF or can be purchased in hard copy


The Bee Book has been written and compiled by Australian beekeepers who were also apiary officers of the Dept of Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland. It draws on their personal experience and that of other beekeepers, as well as over 100 years of departmental research and experience. After being out of print for 2 years, the third edition of this book has now been released, with more photos and more up to date information relevant to beekeeping in Australia, including colour and black & white photos. Purchase The Bee Book in hard copy here.


" EUCALYPTS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA " (2013) by Dean Nicolle is a great resource for SA based beekeepers, providing a wealth of information regarding the identification, distribution, ecology and uses of 103 South Australian eucalypts.


Online documents – free downloads 


The Australian Government's Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation have a range of free download fact sheets. To download them, follow this link and select honeybee from the dropdown menu on the publications page.




AHBIC – Australian Honey Bee Industry Council              

Bee Aware                                                                                          

CIBER – Center for Integrative Bee research WA 

Bees Downunder                                                                  

Whilst we are legislated under the livestock act of South Australia, interstate  government departments can also provide useful resources relevant to beekeeping particularly publications, fact sheets and newsletters.

WA Government                                                      

NT Government 

SA Government                                                   

QLD Government                                                 

ACT Government 

NSW Government                             

VIC Government                                                

TAS Government                                    


Beekeepers Society Of SA                                                  

South Australian Apiarists Association                                




Marty and Lachlan open a hive so you can see how a beehive works in the 2010 segment for the ABC's 'Behind the News"


An educational video showing the life cycle of bees from egg to bee.



Educational website for children


An interactive website produced by the Canadian agricultural museum as a virtual exhibit for children




Beekeeping has a language all of its own. It is important to consider that the microclimates and practices in Australia and more specifically South Australia are not internationally generic and access to international forums / websites/ and documents may give rise to confused terminology.

When ordering equipment it is important to be familiar with terminology and SA standard equipment measurements

South Australia – Hiveware 

  • 10 frame   (width) 405mm X 510mm
  • Standard Fulldepth 247mm or Standard Manley  (depth) 170mm

Please note we do not supply international or interstate sized equipment, Ie – (8fr or 12fr – jumbo, deep, ideal, wsp, three quarter , half depth or NZ manley) 

Keeping your equipment standard and well maintained will ensure you have a saleable commodity should you wish to sell.