There are a few questions that we are commonly asked by new beekeepers and the community, here are the answers to them. You can also bring your questions to club events for some answers.
Will the Council allow me to keep bees?
Inner West Council does not currently regulate the keeping of bees. The Department of Primary Industries regulates amateur and commercial beekeeping - particularly through the Biosecurity Act 2015 (NSW). Amateur beekeepers in the city are allowed to maintain hives in a manner appropriate to the space they are situated, they are also legally responsible for checking the health of hives and registering as beekeepers with the department. For more in depth info come along to our club meetings or checkout the Department of Primary Industries website.
How much space do I need to keep bees?
Beekeeping requires surprisingly little space. It varies depending on bee species - European honey bees can be kept in approx. 1 square meter. Australian natives can almost be placed in any size space provided the environmental conditions are right.
Should I tell my neighbours I'm getting bees?
Beekeeping can cause apprehension in some people, but it need not be that way. Responsibly kept bees are all over the Inner West - you most likely already have some very near you and don't know it! So long as you situate your hives properly and manage your bees responsibly your neighbours will not know you keep bees. Neglect this and complaints can be made and you may have to remove your bees.
Will I get stung?
Yes. Well managed bees can be quite gentle creatures but you will as a beekeeper get stung on occasion.
Where can I get bees and beekeeping equipment?
We often rescue swarms and divide our hives to share amongst members. So you can get bees for free from us if you are a member. Our club also provides competitively priced, locally produced hives that also have the benefit of providing funds for our club activities. We are not affiliated with any commercial interest, but recommend using reputable beekeeping retailers such as The Urban Beehive or Hornsby Beekeeping Supplies.
Are bees safe with pets and/or children?
Pets such as dogs are best kept away from hives as to a bee they look similar to bears - their natural predator. This is a simple matter of situating your hive correctly. Bees provide an excellent opportunity to introduce children to the natural environment. Teaching children how to interact with bees is important, and beesuits in children's sizes are also available. Again it is best to ensure correct placement of hives so that they are not going to interfere with other activities on your yard.