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Killer bees discovered in Utah



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After years of warning, they're finally here. Africanized bees, known as killer bees, have been discovered in southern Utah.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is planning a news conference about the bees tomorrow, and won't provide any details. But we spoke to a Washington County commissioner who says he knows what the announcement is about.

Killer bees discovered in Utah

Commissioner Alan Gardner says officials from agriculture department told him in a meeting today that killer bees have been found in multiple locations in southern Utah.

From Central to North America, the killer bees have been inching closer and closer to Utah. In 1999, KSL traveled to Mesquite, Nev., to talk to Ron Moser, a city worker who had a dangerous encounter while trimming trees. "I've never been attacked like that, never," Moser told us.

Since then, experts believed it was only a matter of time before killer bees found a home in Utah. It appears the prediction is now an immediate concern. "These African bees are a little more aggressive than normal bees," Gardner said.

Gardner says the bees were discovered in seven traps: three near St. George, and four in the Kanab area. "The bees were promptly destroyed, so they're gone," he said.

Killer bees discovered in Utah

Africanized killer bees look the same as our European honeybees. The only real noticeable difference is their vicious behavior. When disturbed, their relentless attack can be deadly.

Experts say if you happen to come across a colony of killer bees, keep your distance and walk away quietly. Make sure your home is not bee-friendly by cleaning up your property and closing holes and hollow spaces.

"Be aware of the situation. I don't think it's trying to scare anybody but just make them aware so that if they do see something that looks suspicious with some bees, that they can call emergency preparedness so that they can come check out the situation," Gardner said.

Gardner says this is nothing to panic about. People just need to be aware that the bees are here in Utah.

Tomorrow's news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. in conference room D in the Gardner Center at Dixie State College. We'll know more after that.

E-mail: wjohnson@ksl.com

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Whit Johnson

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