Close to 700 beekeepers in Canberra have been told to register their hives to reduce the risk of devastating diseases.
From Tuesday, the ACT government will maintain an official list of active hives to ensure diseases can be easily traced and maintained. Until now, there has been no requirement to register.
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said diseases carried by varroa mites had decimated overseas bee populations and posed a threat to the Australian industry.
"The apiary industry plays an important role in the Australian economy through honey and wax production, the export of bees and pollination services to the horticulture and cropping industries," he said.
"Under this new ACT government scheme, if a disease or pest outbreak were to occur in the ACT or regional NSW, registered beekeepers can be alerted so they can take necessary precautions."
The varroa mite has been detected on every continent except Australia. Originating in north Asia, the mites have spread to Europe, the US, south-east Asia and Africa.
After being detected in New Zealand in 2010, the country's feral bee population was slashed by 90 per cent in four years.
Customs officials destroyed a swarm of bees with the disease in Brisbane last year that had travelled from Malaysia.
ACT Beekeepers Association president Cormac Farrell said he supported the government's reforms and believed they were necessary.
"Knowing where the risk is and how a pathogen or pest is spreading is an important tool in managing any bee biosecurity incident as it allows responders to quickly identify the risk and then assess the situation," he said.
"Unlike other animals and stock which can be secured and quarantined, the free movement of bees requires quick action to stop a parasite or pathogen from spreading, including into populations of wild bees and native bee species."
Beekeeping has become an increasingly popular activity in Canberra, with the association boasting close to 300 members.
Beekeepers must comply with a code of practice in residential areas and maintain records for the sale or disposal of their bees or hives. The government's chief veterinarian must also be informed of any notifiable diseases.
A three-month grace period will be given to beekeepers from Tuesday with registration available online.