We reviewed the Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees Bylaw 2012.

The bylaw covers the keeping of certain animals, poultry and bees in residential and rural townships. This bylaw does not include dogs or commercial operations.

We asked for feedback on beekeeping before we formally consult on changes to the bylaw. Feedback closed 31 May, we received 22 survey responses.

We asked for feedback on hobby beekeeping

Private beekeeping has changed over the last 10 years. We want to make sure the beekeeping bylaw regulations are effective and if any changes need to be made to residential beekeeping practices.

Commercial beekeeping is not included in this bylaw, it's regulated under the District Plan as a business activity.

The current conditions in the bylaw

Except with the written approval of Council and subject to the conditions:

  • No bees may be kept on any property with an area of 600m2 or less in a Residential Zone
  • No more than 1 beehive may be kept on any property with an area of between 600m2 and 900m2 in a Residential Zone
  • No more than 2 beehives may be kept on any property with an area of 900m2 or more in a Residential Zone, provided that if there are no dwellings or sensitive uses on adjoining properties 3 hives may be kept.

Residential zones (this includes rural townships) are defined in the District Plan.

The number of beehives needs to be appropriate to the section size, the proximity of neighbours and the layout of the property.

  • Locate hives so as to avoid problems for your neighbours.
  • Position hives so as to ensure that the primary flight path will not affect your neighbours homes or living areas.
  • Place an obstruction in front of hives or elevate them to ensure that bees fly at least 2.5 metres above the ground before crossing the site boundary.

Placement of beehives is critical to avoid problems for neighbours in urban areas

  • Provide a water trough.
  • Talk to your neighbours about when they are happy for you to do hive working and manipulation.

Beekeepers should be considerate of neighbours when siting beehives and when manipulating hives to reduce the chance of annoyance.

If you split beehives already on a property, causing a greater number of beehives than that allowed, the beehives must be removed:

  • By 30 September – for beehives split between March and August
  • Within 6 weeks – for beehives split between September and February.
  • Hives must be constructed and maintained so as to ensure that no nuisance occurs from their existence or use.
  • Parasites, flies and other pests must not reach levels that may create a nuisance to neighbours or a health risk to humans or animals.
  • Bees must be located and kept so other nuisance occurs (including any activity associated with the keeping of bees including such as of honey and waste.

If bees are being kept in a manner or position that is considered by an Environmental Health Officer to constitute a “nuisance” then action may be taken under the Health Act 1956. In the cases where immediate abatement is considered necessary this may include destruction of bees.