Here are some of the rules concerning the transfer and
selling of hives:
1. When a hive is transferred from one beekeeper to another
it is a requirement upon the seller to guarantee that the hive is free
of any diseases and other pathogens as well as unwelcome insects such as
This requirement is written into law.
2. The seller must ensure that the buyer has registered the
site upon which the hive will be placed and that the site meets any local
requirements and by-laws.
3. If the buyer is a new beekeeper then the seller must
furnish the buyer with a form so that the site can be registered with the
authorities. Very often the seller will assist the buyer to fill out the form.
This is because a requirement on the form is that the coordinate map reference
using the NZ 260 maps must be given and it is most likely that the new
beekeeper will be totally unfamiliar with this.
Registration is free but it is nonetheless a lawful
4. When a seller transfers a hive to a new beekeeper then
the seller will also give support for a minimum period of (usually) six months
so that the health and well being of the hive can be periodically checked and
maintained in the new condition. Working with the buyer, many skills can be
transferred to the buyer so he/she can maintain the hive without further
assistance. Telephone and email support is also usually offered.
5. Normally, the seller will advise upon the best place to site
a new hive. This is typically in a position so that morning rising sun will be
on to the front of the hive. The placement should also be free of cold wind,
dampness and other livestock and threats to the hive. A hive strap is often
needed, particularly if the area suffers from seismic activity such as is the
case in most of Christchurch.
6. The new beekeeper must be educated with some of the facts
concerning bee colonies to ensure that the novice is not placed in any danger.
Bees can be aggressive and can inject a toxin via a stinger at the bees rear
end. Some people react badly to this toxin to the point that breathing becomes
impossible and in some cases death may ensue. Some others suffer huge swelling
that can be dangerous to health.
It is therefore imperative to wear a protective suit with a
veil and suitable gloves.
7. Members of the new beekeepers family and friends must be
told of any dangers that may occur when working around bees. This particularly
applies to children and family pets. Bee venom is highly toxic to dogs
Derek T Skinner
The cost of buying new woodwork for a basic 4 box hive would
be about $160, this does not include nails and paint. However buying a second
hand hive together with all the bees and food stores, you would generally
expect to pay between $80 to $140 depending on the condition of the woodware,
bee population and food stores. The Club would endeavour to have an experienced
member check the hive with you, to see that it is disease free. You could
expect to pay more if there is a honey crop on the hive. A box full of honey
would contain about 20 kg of honey, which is considerable value in itself and
would offset the initial cost. Other items required are overalls, hat, veil,
gloves, smoker and hive tool; again these items are cheaper if bought second
A properly run hive in the town are should yield between
50-60 kg (some will produce 100 kg) of honey per season. Hives in the rural
areas are generally more dependant on the seasonal variations.
It would pay to do a little research by accessing the books
available at the public library or the Club library, but remember that most
books are written with respect to the Northern Hemisphere.
More information on beekeeping available www.nba.org.nz
Here are links to organizations in
Christchurch and New Zealand who can help you with beekeeping.
In New Zealand, all beekeepers and the location of their
hives must be registered in accordance with the
Biosecurity (National American Foulbrood Pest Management Strategy) Order
1998. A national register of
beekeepers is maintained by
AsureQuality, a government owned commercial company – http://www.asurequality.com. The Apiary Register is part of New Zealand’s
strategy to eliminate American Foul Brood (AFB) in managed bee colonies. There is no cost to register hives, but an
AFB Biosecurity Levy based on the number of apiaries and hives held by the
beekeeper must be paid each year. In
addition, each beekeeper must complete an Annual Disease Return (ADR). A separate annual Certificate of Inspection
(COI) showing that each hive was inspected for AFB by an approved person must
also be completed and returned. See
http://www.afb.org.nz/ for further details.
To register as a beekeeper, register an apiary or change
your details on the Apiary Register, please contact the Apiary Registrar
Before acquiring a hive, please give some thought as to
where on you are going to place it. Bees and people have existed side-by-side
for thousands of years and our Club has many members who keep a hive or two at
home in their back garden. Some district
councils in New Zealand have bylaws that prohibit urban beekeeping or require
urban beekeepers to apply for a council permit before they acquire hives. We are fortunate that neither Christchurch
City Council, Selwyn District Council nor Waimakariri District Council have
specific bylaws that prohibit or control urban beekeeping in this way. However, your local council may take action
if complaints of nuisance are made by neighbours regarding bees. This action might include asking the
- erect a high fence so that that the bees are forced to fly upwards when they leave the garden
- move the hive to a different part of the section
- remove the hive to another location completely
Many of our members report that their neighbours had no idea
that they kept bees at home until they presented them with a jar of honey. Bees are a tremendous asset to any
neighbourhood, but we do ask members to be responsible and consider their
neighbours if they intend to keep bees on a residential section. If you have any doubts about whether your
garden is a suitable location for bees, contact the Club and ask for advice. Better still, join us: our wealth of
experience and expertise means that new beekeepers will receive lots of
encouragement, advice and support.
The Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeeper’s Club also encourages
its members to complete an AFB recognition training course. Beekeepers who successfully complete the
course and pass the qualifying exam are eligible to enter into a Disease
Elimination Conformity Agreement – known as a DECA. The DECA is an agreement between the
beekeeper and the Management Agency and sets out the standards and practices that
the beekeeper will follow and maintain.
While not a legal requirement, holding a DECA is clear sign that you are
a responsible and well-informed beekeeper.