Beekeeping during COVID-19

Given how many beekeepers are probably asking “can I travel to inspect my bees”, we thought it would be a good idea to publish this. The following information was taken from a recent newsletter distributed by the DPi.

Can I travel from my Home to Inspect Bees?

DPI has received several requests from beekeepers to clarify whether or not travel for the purpose of beekeeping is considered a reasonable excuse to leave a person’s place of residence under the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (the order).

Under the order, a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person’s place of residence.

The order provides examples of reasonable excuses including:

  • travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence; and
  • undertaking any legal obligations.


DPI advises that persons who work operating or are employed by a beekeeping business have a reasonable excuse to leave their place of residence for the purposes of work (assuming that they cannot do that beekeeping work from home). Beekeeping is important to the community as a food producing industry.

Legal obligations

In addition to the excuse of travelling for the purposes of work, all beekeepers in NSW have a legal obligation to maintain their hives in a biosecure manner at all times – specifically, in a manner which (so far as is reasonably practicable) prevents, eliminates or minimises the known or reasonably known biosecurity risks of their hives.

This obligation is known as the General Biosecurity Duty (GBD) under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

Some beekeepers, including both professional and recreational beekeepers, will need to travel from their place of residence to attend to and manage hives that are situated elsewhere in order to observe their GBD.

This may include but is not limited to carrying out brood inspections, feeding, requeening and other beekeeping activities that are required to ensure hives remain healthy and free from serious diseases like American foulbrood.

For this reason, DPI advises that both professional and recreational beekeepers may have a reasonable excuse to leave their place of residence for the purpose of undertaking activities required to meet their legal obligations under the GBD in accordance with the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

Recommendation when travelling

DPI recommends all beekeepers to carry a copy of their current DPI issued certificate of beekeeper registration when travelling in case they are questioned while on the road. Beekeepers who require a copy of their certificate of registration should contact

You may also wish to print this advice and carry a copy with you.

Please remember that you must continue to practice social distancing at all times when carrying out beekeeping activities.

Further information

Should beekeepers require information around the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary industries, please visit the DPI COVID-19 information website or email the COVID-19 Primary Industries Liaison Team