How do I start a beehive in St Kilda?

Hi everyone,

I live in St Kilda in Melbourne, Victoria. We have a small community garden on our block of 8 flats and we are interested in starting a bee colony. Any ideas how and who we should approach to get things started here?

Thanks for any suggestions/leads.

Cheers – Zainil


  1. Doug

    What sort of Bees are you looking for, Honey Bees or Native Bees.

    Honey Bees are quite easy to setup, its best to join a local Bee club for advice and assistance along the way.

    Native Bees are much more difficult especially where the temperature gets a low as it can in Melbourne as they are quite temperature sensitive with many not starting work unless the temp is > 18 and < 38

  2. Peter Clarke

    As far as I know there are no social native bees that live as far south as Melbourne. Trigona carbonaria don’t go further south than Bega NSW, the Melbourne winters are probably too severe.

    If you do want to get bees you will have to get them from Qld and work out a way to keep them warm in winter.

    I run a program in Sydney where we have placed 185 hives on properties in Ku-ring-gai so I know just enough to be dangerous. Temperatures close to zero and below, (especially for an extended time) and above 43C are bad and the wooden hives need insulation.

    You could possibly put then inside a shed and have a pipe leading from the entrance of the hive to outside to get around the temperature problems.

    I’d be happy to talk to you, I can be contacted at Ku-ring-gai Council on 94240 770

  3. paula

    Hi Zainil, the following website has some good general advice on bee keeping, plus lists of bee keeping clubs in victoria and colleges that run bee keeping courses (mainly in regional areas, but recommended for those starting out):

    I notice that you’re based in St Kilda. Did you know that there is also a local food and gardening network in port phillip which promotes urban food growing? the port phillip urban fresh food network (PPUFFN) hosts free public forums on issues around food security and distributes a regular e-mail news bulletin as well. Feel free to join up by e-mailing: gardeners[at] I’d be very interested to hear of your experiences in developing a shared garden in a block of flats, as there are very few gardens of this type in port phillip.

    paula havelberg
    Port Phillip Urban Fresh Food Network

  4. Sonja Bertram

    Hi My name is Sonja Bertram I live in the Frankton Area. I am interested in setting up a beehive at one our Community Gardens site. I would love to hear from other Community Garden Organisations who have done this before.

    Sonja Bertram

  5. Doug Purdie

    Hi Sonja

    I have three hives in a community garden in Sydney and am happy to talk to you about the best way to approach doing this.



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