Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

African Bee Detected in Southern Utah

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(801) 538-7184

UDAF has detected the presence of the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) in Cedar City, in Southern Utah. The single hive was located in the eaves of a residence and has been destroyed by a qualified pest control company. The presence of Africanized bees in Utah is not believed to be wide spread. The public is being encouraged to approach all bees with caution and respect and report the presence of bees to the UDAF’s St. George office at (435) 634-5708.

“It appears this hive was able to survive the cold winters of Cedar City because it sought shelter inside the walls of this residence,” said Plant Industry Director, Clair Allen. “We do not believe honey bees can survive Utah’s freezing temperatures in hives that are unprotected,” he added.

A number of bee traps are being placed in Cedar City and in other locations in Iron County to determine the extent of the spread of the Africanized bee population.

The first confirmation of the presence of Africanized bees in Utah was made in January 2009 when five hives were discovered in Washington and Kane Counties. There have been no reported stinging attacks on humans or animals to date.

bees in eaves bees in eaves
In this picture, two clusters of bees are entering and leaving the eaves of this Cedar City home. If you see bees gathered around cracks or holes, it could be a sign that a hive is present behind walls or ceilings.

In this case, Africanized honey bees had built an extensive colony comprised of 150 pounds of wax comb and honey in the eaves of this Cedar City home.

See the video of the removal of the hive in Cedar City

African Bee Detected in Southern Utah -- Residents Advised to Approach All Bees with Caution (February, 2009)

UDAF has detected the presence of the Africanized Honey Bee in Washington and Kane Counties of Southern Utah. The hives that were discovered have been destroyed and there have been no reported incidents of attacks on humans or animals. The presence of AHB in Utah is not believed to be wide spread. We encourage residents to approach all bees with caution and respect.

UDAF has maintained a series of bee traps throughout Southern Utah since 1994. Over the past several months, tests have been conducted on more than 80 hives that were located in areas suitable for AHB activity. Seven of the 80 hives have been confirmed as Africanized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service laboratory in Tuscon, AZ. The seven hives were promptly destroyed. Three of the seven hives were found in the wild near St. George, Utah in UDAF traps intended to attract African bees. Four of the seven hives were found in hives managed by private beekeepers near Kanab and St. George, Utah.

“This discovery makes it imperative that we think differently about honey bees in our state,” said Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, Leonard Blackham. Commissioner Blackham says, while the African bee poses a credible health and safety risk, we should not overreact to this development. Communities throughout the South and Southwest have safely coexisted with the bee since 1990, and we in Utah can do the same. I encourage you to visit our web site to understand the risks, and learn how to avoid these aggressive bees.

African bees look just like traditional European honey bees. An African bee sting is NOT more powerful than a European honey bee sting. Their danger comes from the number of stings a hive can inflict.

UDAF continues to work with Utah beekeepers to identify hives that become aggressive. We wish to remind residents that the honey bee population in Utah is very important to agriculture and wildlife, and that not all bees are African bees. Beekeepers who maintain gentle stocks are our first line of defense against AHB. African bees tend to not move into an area where bee colonies already exist.

Since the discovery of African bee in Mesquite, Nevada in November of 1999, UDAF has been working with Washington County public safety agencies regarding AHB response. We will redouble our efforts to offer training to emergency first responders, local health departments, police and fire, school districts and any group that seeks assistance.

The best way to avoid an attack is to be aware of where bees tend to form hives, look for bees and if you see bees, move in the opposite direction.

More details on how to identify the Africanized Honey Bee and what to do if you encounter them.

Arrival dates of AHB in southern U.S. states

Texas - October 1990
Arizona - July 1993
New Mexico - November 1993
Puerto Rico - April 1994
California - November 1994
Nevada - April 1998
Mesquite, Nevada - November 1999
St. George, Utah - January 2009

UDAF has monitored the movement of the Africanized Honey Bee since it entered the U.S., via Texas, in May of 1990. UDAF began trapping for the AHB in Southern Utah in 1994 in St. George, Hurricane, Hildale, Bluff, Lake Powell, Blanding, Monticello, Hanksville, Moab, and other areas.

Samples of African bees taken from hives in Southern Utah.

More than 100 African bee traps like the one pictured here are located in areas such as; St. George, Hurricane, Hildale, Lake Powell, Bluff, Blanding, Monticello, Hanksville, Moab and other areas. People are cautioned to not approach the traps.

African bees look just like traditional European honey bees. If you see several bees in one area, or even a larger swarm, back away and call 911. An African bee sting is NOT more powerful than a European honey bee sting. Their danger comes from the number of stings a hive can inflict.