Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Brisbane region. Councils restrictions?

Hi everyone!

I have a question to those who leave in areas zoned rural or rural residential surrounding greater Brisbane region. Out of interest I checked councils’ restrictions on amount of beehives allowed on a property. It looks like they are quite universal between councils and do not differentiate between residential and rural properties. Below is an example from MBRC:

It looks like 10 is the maximum number of allowed hives even if a property on the larger side (hectares). It is understandable in residential areas but why one cannot keep more than 10 hives on a farm? This number seems low even for an enthusiast with land let alone commercial beekeeper. Am I missing something or more or less serious beekeeping is prohibited within convenient distance from Brisbane?

It’d be great if native bees used flow hives.

Looking at some aerial footage of residential areas in Brisbane, I think you’d be flat-out finding properties greater than 600sq.m. They seem to fill the whole block with a house, leaving no room for a vege garden or anything like that.

“Bring back the 1/4 acre block”, I say.


Brisbane City Council, along with most of our cities is opting for smaller and smaller blocks of ground. I think it would be really hard to find a 2,000 sq mt block of ground that hasn’t got a block of units on it. Building blocks in the outer suburbs are so small that homes don’t have eaves as they would intrude on the neighbors property.
I agree with Jeff that we are heading to a block of land for a small home with no room for children to play in the back yard, or to keep a bee hive.

Yes, residential blocks become smaller and smaller. But even Brisbane has rural residential zones like one on the west in direction of Ipswich where 1 acre blocks are common. Moreton Bay council in general vicinity of Samford Valley - rural properties of 1 hectare and more just 30 minutes from Brisbane CBD. Caboolture is farer away but plenty of farms. 10 hives limit applies.
Logan Council’s website at least indicates a possibility of having more than 15 hives. However a development application must be lodged. A development application for putting 16 hives on a farm land forsooth!
Gold Coast and Brisbane councils’ websites are just silent on the matter of beekeeping restrictions.
Sunshine Coast: “You must not keep more than ten bee hives on a lot greater than 2000 square metres and less than 4000 square metres.” Nothing about land of more than 4000 square metres.
Since I thought about a possibility of future retirement in a warmer climate of Queensland and somewhat closer to Brisbane I decided to have a look. What I see is not very encouraging in terms of keeping bees as a hobby. That is why I wanted to ask people who have a local knowledge about the issue. Maybe there are some processes not indicated on councils’ websites?

Don’t be discouraged ABB, come over & take a look. I’m sure you’d have no trouble here on the Sunshine Coast if the climate took your fancy.

You can keep them on roofs and balconies. The urban lamd sacpe is changing for better or worse.

It is interesting the hive density doesn’t match up to the Australian Honey Bee Council (2007). It has some assumptuons about responsible beekeeping.

Property area Maximum Number of Hives
up to 400 m2 2
400-1000 m2 4
1000-2000 m2 8
2000-4000 m2 16
>4000 m2, if zoned urban 40
For hives on rooftops: Refer to Property area

I am going to ruffle some feathers here.

To be honest, I think some of those allowances are way too generous.

My property is 2001m ². I currently have two hives. I think I am only allowed to keep two here in WA, but according to those tables I can keep up to 10 (16 according to the Australian Honey Bee Council).

With just two small colonies, my bees are a major nuisance to my neighbours. I have five watering stations scattered around plus a few smaller ones - still, the bees in their wisdom collectively decided that my neighbour’s fountain and pond are better. Sometimes I can see hundreds of bees around his pond, at times so bad he simply cannot maintain it.

He is justifiably annoyed. Now imagine if I had 10 or 16 hives.

I think that is the point they are maximum numbers and location, management and other factors will determine how many.

In WA there is no real consistency between LGAs and hive density in urban areas. The table I provided is what is in the WAAS draft BMP for urban beekeepers, with all the disclaimers.

Places as close to Brisbane like Ipswich, Caboolture and Logan have their own councils and not under Brisbane’s jurisdiction. The number of hives allowed today in an area might be less very quickly as Greater Brisbane is growing at an amazing rate.
To some extent the restrictions are a bit flexible, friendly neighbors is more important. I would wait till you are ready to move then come for a visit and I’m sure you will find what you need somewhere in the Great South East. That is exactly what I did, I came for a weekend that extended to a week

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to a litre of water and offer that to the bees, I say a test of 6 mixtures to attract bees to a watering station and it was a clear choice by the bees. Dead last was straight tap water.

I use rain water from my tanks and some do visit my water stations. I also tried the salt, but still, the vast majority have it wired in their memory I think that the best water is at my next door’s fountain and pond.

My point is that we have to be really mindful as beekeepers, and we need to keep public opinion on our side by being responsible.

Since the Flow hive, there has been an increase in urban beekeeping, which is a good thing of course, but with that comes the opposition from those, rightly or wrongly, don’t like excessive bees disturbing their backyard activity.

The more complaints are lodged with councils, the more likelihood of further restrictions on urban beekeeping in the future.


So very true, some people have a thing about bees and object if one flies to one of their flowers, they just don’t see the bigger picture. Sometimes you can only smile. :wink: :wink:

Thank you for encouragement :slightly_smiling_face: Shorter and warmer winters are quite high on my list of priorities. Northern Queensland would be ideal if humidity wasn’t so high.

1 Like

And I did. :slightly_smiling_face: About 30 years ago I had a hive on the 4th floor apartment balcony. Brood box and 2 supers. Just one season though. Neighbours didn’t share my passion. Still don’t understand why… :thinking: :laughing:

Yes, this is a bit unfortunate. I have 2 hives on 700 sq. metres residential block and my neighbours haven’t had any idea until I gave them a jar of honey and explained where it comes from.
But again, I am talking about rural properties purposed for agricultural activities, where density of houses is not so high…

I see what you mean. However being at mercy of one’s neighbors is not ideal.

I agree and understand what you mean, life is not always just and in favor of a bee keeper.
My apiary is on an industrial estate on the Sunshine Coast and when I was looking for a location that is a manageable distance from my home an unused section of the local Men’s Shed land was offered to me. Heaps of state park land and native bush for foraging. I made inquiries at the local council and after some research they came up with a maximum of 15 hives, but they couldn’t explain how they came up with that number so they asked how many hives I might like to have. My reply was ‘maybe up to 50 of them’ and straight away was told that would be ok…

1 Like