BA2012-04 Draft review of the importation of queen honey bees

​​29 February 2012

This Biosecurity Advice invites stakeholders to provide comments on the draft review of the importation of queen honey bees by 30 April 2012.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry initiated this review of policy in response to the suspension of the previous conditions for the importation of honey bees in August 2008. Biosecurity requirements for the importation of live honey bees from approved countries were established in August 1996 (Australian Quarantine Policy Memorandum 1996/42) and subsequently amended in December 2000 to expand the list of approved countries and in February 2006 when importation from the United States was suspended. Importation from all countries was suspended in August 2008.

The department recognises that there is a demand for imported honey bee genetics to improve the productive and disease resistant qualities of local honey bee colonies. The review takes into account current scientific information, international standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health, as well as information in the Draft generic import risk analysis (IRA) for honeybee semen—technical issues paper (2002).

The review has identified and categorised hazards of biosecurity concern associated with the importation of queen honey bees. Risk assessments of hazards have been undertaken as required.

The review proposes:

  • Importation is restricted, in the first instance, to queen honey bees from Canada, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand and the United States.
  • Upon arrival in Australia all imported honey bees undergo post-arrival quarantine in a government approved quarantine facility where a colony derived from imported honey bees will be propagated. The larvae grafted from this colony will be the only genetic material released from quarantine.

The department invites comments on the technical aspects of the proposed risk management measures associated with the importation of queen honey bees. In particular, comments are sought on their appropriateness and any other measures stakeholders consider would provide equivalent risk management outcomes.

Comments on the review should be submitted by 30 April 2012 to:

Animal Biosecurity
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858
Telephone: +61 2 6272 4465
Facsimile: +61 2 6272 3399
Email: Animal

The review is available via the department’s website

All submissions received on the review will be carefully considered by Animal Biosecurity in finalising the review of existing policy.

Please pass this notice to other interested parties. If those parties wish to be included in future communications on this matter they should contact Animal Biosecurity.


Stakeholders are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, all submissions received in response to Biosecurity Advices will be publicly available and may be listed or referred to in any papers or reports prepared on the subject matter.

The Commonwealth reserves the right to reveal the identity of a respondent unless a request for anonymity accompanies the submission. Where a request for anonymity does not accompany the submission the respondent will be taken to have consented to the disclosure of his or her identity for the purposes of Information Privacy Principle 11 of the Privacy Act. The contents of the submission will only be treated as confidential if they are marked ‘confidential’ and they can be classified as such in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Andrew Cupit
A/g Assistant Secretary
Animal Biosecurity

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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