Native beehive program

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Ku-ring-gai Council's Native Beehive program is a community engagement and education program which aims to boost the number of native bees within the Ku-ring-gai LGA by enabling residents to ‘foster’ a hive in their backyard.  Since 2006, over 1000 hives have been distributed with more being added every year.

Tetragonula carbonaria is the only species of social bee native to the Ku-ring-gai area. They are a stingless species and therefore an ideal option for keeping bees without the worry. They are also great for teaching kids about the importance of insects and developing a positive relationship with wildlife in their own backyard.

Ku-ring-gai residents registration

The Native bee hive program for 2019 has now closed. A waitlist will open again in June 2020. Due to overwhelming interest from residents, stocks are limited and those who register will not be guaranteed a hive. We will do our best to ensure all registered residents receive a hive.

PLEASE NOTE: You can only register for the waitlist via the online registration form on this page. We do not take word of mouth or email requests to avoid any confusion.

For other native bee related inquiries, email is preferred. Please contact wildthings@kmc.nsw.gov.au 

More information can be found on our FAQ page.

How does the program work?

Native Bee Hives are distributed to residents to look after on their property. The hives are very low maintenance. Residents are only required to keep an eye on the activity of the hive and report problems to the Environmental Programs team and of course enjoy the thousands of tiny new additions to their yard!

Splitting hives

The hives are periodically split to provide new hives to more residents. Every hive distributed to residents remains the property of Council and a part of the Native Bee hive program until retired. Residents with beehives will be contact by Council staff to arrange a split every few years.

A small number of hives are sold out of area to fund the program. More information on sales of hives can be found below.

Check out our FAQ’s for more details about the Native beehive program.

Yearly Schedule

June 2020 - the next round of online registrations for hives will open in as outlined above. 

September 2020 - Council staff will visit beehives across the LGA to check their health and split the hives. The new hives that are created are distributed to the resident waitlist in December and become part of the program. Resident beehives are split on a 2 – 3 year cycle.

I am not a resident can I get a hive?

The Native Bee Hive program is open to Ku-ring-gai residents only. However, people out of area can purchase a native beehive, see information below. All funds raised are returned to the program.

Purchasing a hive

Standard Native beehive with foam box insulation (including bees): $500.00

Standard Native beehive with foam box insulation (including bees) and honey collector: $550.00  OUT OF STOCK

Hives come with a 1 year warranty. This excludes damage/death to hive caused by not following care instructions.

Current stock  

Hive stock now available for sale. Council does not currently offer a hive check and split service outside of the residents’ program.  

We do have a limited stock of materials (foam boxes and wood hive pieces) available for sale.

Please email wildthings@kmc.nsw.gov.au for details on the above.

More information on commercial sales and splitting services can be found on the Aussiebee website.

An example of the hives available is pictured here:

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What are Tetragonula carbonaria and why are they so important?

Australia has over 1,500 species of native bee, and the Sydney region is home to about 200 species. Of these, only one species (Tetragonula carbonaria) lives socially, storing honey and pollen in its hive. The remaining 199 or so live solitary lives, and nest in a variety of substrates such as hollow stems, old borer holes and dead tree branches.

Bees are essential members of our ecological communities and their communities are under threat worldwide. These hardworking insects pollinate our gardens and food crops including your garden and veggie patch. Having a native bee hive on your property to care for is a great way to boost the number of native bees in the local area.

Check out a local resident’s experience of keeping native bees.

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Envirotube 

Discover Ku-ring-gai Council's own environmental channel. Envirotube includes step by step video tutorials on everything from native bee’s, converting your pool to a pond, plant identification, snakes, lizards, insects, spiders and more.

More information

Native Bees Tetragonula brochure 2014.pdf (pdf. 310KB)

Go behind the scenes of our Native Bee Hive Program and read the Bee Hive Splitting Diaries from 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Our native bee initiatives are a part of Ku-ring-gai Council’s WildThings program, which also includes Pool to Pond.

Contact email: wildthings@kmc.nsw.gov.au