Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

AHB - Background & History


Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) was first introduced to the Western Hemisphere as part of a breeding experiment in Brazil. The goal of the experiment was to create a bee better suited to Brazil. In October 1957, due to a miscommunication, the bees escaped containment and quickly began spreading in the wild. The bees rapidly spread from South America into Mexico and finally reached the United States in 1990. By 2000 AHB was well established in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada. Since then AHB has also been detected in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida.

In 2008 Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) were detected in Washington County. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s Apiary Program quickly began trapping efforts to help understand the extent and spread of AHB populations in the state. In 2009 AHB was detected in Kane and Iron Counties. San Juan County was found to have AHB in 2010. It was hoped that AHB would not spread any further until 2015 when populations of AHB were found in Grand and Wayne Counties. Two more counties were found to have AHB in 2016, Garfield and Emery Counties. It is unclear what the end distribution of AHB in the state will look like or how long it will take to reach maximum distribution. UDAF will continue to monitor the spread of AHB into new counties and will update stakeholders whenever AHB spreads to new areas.

Please contact UDAF with any questions at: (801) 538-4912 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.