Beekeeping By-laws in South Africa

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Johannesburg Metropolitan By-Laws for Beekeeping

It is legitimate to keep bees in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipal area if you have a permit to do so.

Below is a copy of the by-laws in Johannesburg Metro pertaining to beekeeping in this area. If you intend taking up beekeeping in this manner then it is advisable that you attend a beginner beekeeping course.

By-Laws of Johannesburg Metropolitan regarding Suburban Beekeeping

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The keeping of bees in the Johannesburg Metropolitan area is controlled by the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality Public Health By-Laws, (Provincial Gazette Extraordinary No 179 dated 21 May 2004, Notice 830 of 2004).

The General Provisions for the keeping of bees is as follows:

Requirements for keeping of bees

  1. No person may keep bees on any premises unless –
    1. that person is the holder of a permit authorizing that activity; and
    2. every bee hive is situated –
      1. a minimum of five metres from any boundary of the premises; and
      2. a minimum of twenty metres from any public place or building used for human habitation or from any place used for the keeping of animals, poultry and birds;
    3. the bees are kept in an approved bee hive; and
    4. the bee hive is –
      1. kept in an area inaccessible to children and animals;
      2. kept in the shade at all times; and
      3. supplied with a source of drinking water within five metres of the hive.
  2. No person may dump or deposit any garbage, compost, grass cuttings or manure within five metres of any bee hive.

It is important for beekeepers to register with SABIO the beekeeing industry organisation in South Africa.

If you want to start beekeeping in the Johannesburg metropolitan you must become familiar with the the by-laws of the metro. These are bee rules made in order to keep people safe as well as give guidelines for all beekeeping sites

Although beekeeping regulation is not well enforced if an accident or injury is caused to the public and you as beekeeper don't have a beekeeping permit nor did you keep to the beekeeping by-laws you would suffer the regulatory punishments

Moral of the story is that you should be aware and practice the bee rules, bee law and by-laws of the Johannesburg Metro.

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Got the Penthouse or Hive?

Start with a brood chamber, 10 frames with wax foundation, a base and a lid. One can go the whole hog and get the full deal. The complete assembled hive. REMEMBER! This does not include the queen excluder - SOLD SEPARATELY. You can expect to have foundation sheets in both chambers, 10 frames per chamber.

You can use creosote to treat your hives. You can also use Silver Enamel paint. Or do both. Be sure to use the correct creosote as some do contain contaminants. Also leave your hives to dry and air properly before transferring a colony into it.

OUR PREFERENCE FOR HIVE TREATMENT is a mixture of linseed oil and beeswax heat submerged for a period of time. This is the most natural treatment for bee hive components.

Frames usually come standard. You can make your own. Do not treat these. You can and iit is recommended that you put wax foundation sheets on the frames. You can also use Pollen traps and feeders with your hives. Feeders are used while wintering your colonies. It is also important that your frames have wire. These offer support to the wax comb when fully built and assists when inspecting hives to stabilise comb.

A queen excluder is necessary as it prevents the queen bee from moving between the brood and super chambers. Thus you have brood in the bottom chamber and surplus honey in the super chamber. Workers can move easily between the metal wire. The Jackson hive utilises a different approach when it comes to managing the brood and honey storage. The Jackson hive has shown up to 30% more yield however when compared to Langstroth hives. Check the two photos below to see the different styles.

What do they cost ?

For a fully assembled Langstroth hive (incl. queen excluder @ R650)

Langstroth Bee hive

Brood frames with wax foundation sheets and wire

Feeders for wintering or during dearth periods

Place your order for 'THE' book on beekeeping also known as the Blue Book titled Beekeeping in South Africa. Click on order for more info.


A Jackson hive ( queen excluder not required)

Queen Excluder - aluminium type available now for R70 each

Super frames with wax foundation and wire

Get the beekeeping equipment. Essential equipment is available from our office in Midrand. Hives, hive tool, protective clothing & smoker make up the need-to-have list. Click here

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