Beekeeping and the Law


New Zealand beekeepers have a number of legal obligations that must be met regarding American foulbrood disease. These are outlined in Appendix 1.

In summary, the most important of these obligations are:

  1. Only keep bees in moveable frame hives Section 11 (Biosecurity order 1998 Appendix 1)
  2. Keep access to apiary sites clear from obstruction
  3. Not feed drugs or substances that mask, obscure or conceal the symptoms of AFB
  4. Not keep beehives more than 30 days in a place other than a registered apiary
  5. Register all apiaries with the Management Agency
  6. Mark all apiaries with the beekeeper registration code
  7. Change registration numbers only by the beekeeper who has the code assigned to them, unless permission to do so is provided by the management agency
  8. Remove all identification codes when transferring the ownership of the hives
  9. Where a case of AFB is found, the owner of the hives must report to the Management Agency within seven days of becoming aware of the case
  10. Complete an Annual Disease Return by 1 June each year
  11. Destroy equipment and bees associated with a case of AFB within seven days
  12. Not deal with or transfer ownership of material associated with a case of AFB
  13. Sterilise beekeeping equipment only by approved methods
  14. Ensure hives are inspected for AFB by an approved beekeeper with a DECA provided to the Management Agency by 30 November (unless there is a certificate of inspection exemption)

    Under certain conditions there are some exemptions for these obligations.