Bees and wasps

Bee swarms

Swarming is part of the natural reproduction of bee colonies and it is especially noticeable around spring and into summer. The old queen bee will move on with a large number of field and worker bees to find a new home, so she can ensure the new queen has an established colony already in the old hive. They will often be seen in a ball formation and swarm around eaves, letterboxes, bins, trees or a water source.

People often fear a bee swarm however, if the swarm is left alone the bees should pose no harm and it will usually only remain for a day or two while the worker bees search for a new home.

Should the swarm continue to be observed after two days and they are creating a nuisance or potential hazard, the following steps should be taken:

  • Keep children and pets inside for half an hour or so, until the flying bees have clustered on to a bush or other object.
  • Once the swarm has formed a cluster, usually about the size of a football, and most of the bees have stopped flying, it is safe to be outside pursuing your usual activities.
  • Keep clear of the swarm until you can arrange to have it removed.
  • Always wear footwear to protect your feet in case a bee has settled on the ground.

For more information visit the Department of Agriculture and Food website.

Keeping bees

Registration as a bee keeper

You must be registered in Western Australia to be a bee keeper under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Identification and Movement of Stock and Apiaries) Regulations 2013. This is to ensure high biosecurity standards are maintained to protect WA's honey bee populations. Hives must be marked with your unique identifier. For more information please visit the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) website.

Council approvals  

You do not need to apply to keep bees for personal use/hobby in the Town of Victoria Park on your residential property.

However bee keeping for commercial purposes at a residential property (i.e. collecting and packaging honey to sell at markets), is classed as a ‘Home Occupation’ use under the Town’s Local Planning Scheme.  

Development approval is required to use a residential property as a ‘Home Occupation’ use. An application for development approval is to be submitted to the Town. It is recommended that applicants, when preparing an application for development approval, refer to the Town’s Local Planning Scheme, Local Planning Policy 2 (LPP2) – ‘Home Occupation’, Checklist – ‘Home Occupation’ and Example Plans – ‘Home Occupation’. For further information, please refer to Town’s Urban Planning web page via https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/Build-and-develop/Planning or, alternatively, contact the Town’s Duty Planner on (08) 9311 8111.

Requirements for keeping bees

Bee keeping must be undertaken in accordance with Division 6 of the Health Local Law 2003.

No more than two hives can be kept on a lot, unless permission is given by the Town. A written application must be submitted in this case.

A person shall not keep or permit the keeping of bees in a hive on a lot unless, at all times -

  • an adequate and permanent supply of water is provided on the lot within 10 metres of the hives;
  • the hive is kept -
    • outside, and at least 10 metres from, any building other than a fence;
    • at least 10 metres from any footpath, street, private street or public place; and
    • at least 5 metres from the boundary of the lot; and
  • the hive is enclosed on all sides by a fence, wall or other enclosure.

Bees must not be kept where they are causing a nuisance. The Town may direct bee owners to remove any nuisance hives.

Selling honey

If you wish to produce honey for personal consumption you do not need any approval. However if you wish to produce honey for sale you will need to register as a food business with the Town of Victoria Park. For further information please see the Town's website on food businesses and to download an application form.

European wasps

European wasps are an exotic species in Western Australia from the Eastern States. They are an environmental pest and should be reported to the Department of Agriculture and Food on 1800 084 881 (Pest and Disease Hotline) or email info@agric.wa.gov.au.

For more information visit the Department of Agriculture and Food website.

To report a problem

To report nuisance bees or wasps, call Customer Service on 9311 8111 or email admin@vicpark.wa.gov.au with your contact details and the address of the property of concern.

Reports will be dealt with according to where the problem occurs:

  • Council property (such as verge trees, reserves and parks) will be referred to the Town's Park Life Services for removal. 
  • It is the responsibility of the property owner to address the problem on private property, or seek professional advice. For environmental reasons it is preferred that the bees be removed alive rather than killed. Removal can be undertaken by an apiarist (bee keeper).
  • Neighbouring properties causing a nuisance or hazard will be referred to the Town's Environmental Health Services.