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Beekeepers required to disclose their registration number

Regulating the sale of bees, how Trade Me makes sure sellers are aware of their responsibilities as a beekeeper.

By Trade Me 5 February 2021

Continuing to bee a safe place to trade

We recently met with Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) to discuss concerns about the prevention and eradication of American foulbrood (AFB) in NZ hives. AFB is a disease of honey bee larvae and pupa. It’s the most serious honey bee disease in New Zealand, the control of which is a major cost to beekeepers.

As a result, we’ve decided that when beekeepers list bees or hives with bees for sale on Trade Me, they must include their registration number in the listing body.

By making this requirement, we can see that beekeepers are aware of their responsibilities and potential buyers can make informed choices.

This policy will come into effect on 12 March which gives any unregistered beekeepers out there time to get registered.

ApiNZ have kindly provided some guidance on how registration works:

If you’re new to beekeeping and intend to purchase beekeeping equipment, there are some important legal requirements you need to understand. These include:

  • All beekeepers must be registered with the American Foulbrood Management Agency.
  • Beekeepers are required to register all their apiaries under their beekeeper registration number. Registration is a legal requirement and there is a small charge to the beekeeper which funds the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan (AFBPMP).

This means that anyone selling beehives needs to be registered and you should be able to ask for evidence of a beekeeping registration number. These requirements are designed to stop the spread of the disease American foulbrood (AFB) as they allow for traceability.

If you intend to become a beekeeper, you must also register yourself and your hives with AsureQuality within 30 days of purchasing bees and beekeeping equipment.

Unlike most other countries, New Zealand beekeepers do not use antibiotics to control AFB (the use of drugs to control AFB is illegal under New Zealand law). Control is through managing honey bee colonies to reduce the spread of disease and the destruction of colonies that are found to have AFB.

The importance of preventing the spread of AFB places restrictions on the way beekeepers manage their hives. When control measures fail and disease levels get out of control, AFB can result in the complete destruction of beekeeping businesses.

If a beekeeper refuses to supply you with evidence that they are registered and/or you suspect that a trader is selling equipment that could be infected with AFB, you should notify the Management Agency at or their contractor AsureQuality on 0508 00 11 22. Pls also let us know via Community Watch. 

For more information visit the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan site.

This policy does not apply to bumble bees as there is no registration requirement for bumble bee keepers and they do not suffer from AFB or varroa.


It should go without saying that diseased bees, hives and infected equipment may not be sold on Trade Me.

Our thanks to ApiNZ for working with us!


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Trade Me

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