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 the programs beginning in 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.

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.

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!

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.

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Timeline of the program

In June, residents can visit this webpage and join the waitlist to receive a free native bee hive.

In September, Council staff 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.

How can I get involved?

The Native Bee Hive Program has proven to be extremely popular amongst residents. To become a part of the program, residents are required to join a waitlist which opens in June  and stays open until full. These residents are then contacted by Council staff after the splitting season in December to arrange delivery of the hive.

The waitlist is currently closed.

Please note that due to the high levels of resident interest in the program we are not able to inform residents about waitlist availability via email.

Residents are required to visit the website to register. We do not take word of mouth or email requests to avoid any confusion.

A link to the waitlist will become available on the page in June 2019 – so watch this space!

Please note the waitlist previously opened in January, but due to resident feedback regarding long wait times we have amended this date to June.

For more information about the program check out our FAQ page.

I am not a resident can I get a hive?white hive.jpg

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

Stock of hives become available at the end of October. Please email to register your interest in purchasing a hive and we will email you with details once they become available.

An example of the hives available is pictured here:    

Sales information

Standard Native beehive with foam box insulation (with bees): $450.00

Standard Native beehive with foam box insulation (with bees) and honey collector: $500.00

Please note that sales come with a 1 year warranty on the hive. This excludes positioning in extreme heat/cold conditions, vandalism, moving away from Sydney to inappropriate climate, opening the hive or putting the hive in a situation where it sits in water, gets knocked over or mishandled in a similar way.    

After this season Council will no longer be providing sales of materials for splitting of hives or a splitting service to out of area sales.

Please email to arrange purchase of materials for this season.

While Council staff are able to offer after sale advice we are unable to provide services including health checks, splitting services and honey collection. We are currently compiling more information on material sales and splitting services which will be made available soon. 

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

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.

Phone: 9424 0000.