Honey Bees and Other Bees

Last Modified: March 29, 2024


7 CFR 322 - Bees, Beekeeping ByProducts, and Beekeeping Equipment Regulations

APHIS does not regulate the interstate movement of bees in the continental United States. Interstate movement and importation of bees into Hawaii is prohibited. Canada prohibits the transit of honey bees from the lower 48 states to Alaska.

Restricted Articles

The following are considered to be Restricted Articles:

  • Dead bees of any genus
  • Beeswax for beekeeping
  • Honey for bee feed

For information on importing them see " Restricted Articles and Organism" and 7 CFR 322.28. Bee-collected pollen for bee feed cannot be imported from any country. Royal jelly may be imported for bee feed for scientific purposes under permit.”

For the requirements for importing bees see General Shipping Requirements for the Importation of Honey Bees and then check for specific requirements for the originating country. If the combination of bee species and country is not listed, the importation is restricted to Universities and State/Federal Government Agencies with plant pest permits for research purposes.

  • Apply for a Permit - Use PPQ Form 526, Application for permit to move live plant pests or noxious weeds

Importation of Honey Bees (Apis mellifera mellifera) and Beekeeping Equipment

Adult queen honey bees and package bees (worker bees, drones, with a queen) can be imported into the continental United States (i.e. not including Hawaii) from Canada and New Zealand:

General Shipping Requirements for the Importation of Honey Bees

  • Whole colonies in hive bodies cannot be imported from any country.
  • Used beekeeping equipment cannot be imported from any country for use in beekeeping.
  • adult honey bees from any country other than Canada and New Zealand and honey bee brood from any country are restricted.
  • Importation of honey bee queens and package bees from Australia is prohibited.

Importation of Bees other than Honey Bees

The following five species can be imported from Canada under the Requirements for the Importation of Bees other than Honey Bees:

  • Bumblebees of the species, Bombus impatiens and Bombus occidentalis
  • Alfalfa leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata
  • Blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria
  • Horn-faced bee, Osmia cornifrons

Bees other than honey bees and the five species listed above are restricted. 

Importation of Honey Bee Germplasm

Honey Bee germplasm can be imported from Australia, Bermuda, Canada, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Sweden provided the following the conditions are met in the Requirements for the Importation of Honey Bee Germplasm. For honey Bee germ plasm from any other country see the section on Importation of Restricted Articles and Organisms. Importation of Restricted Articles (7 CFR 322.28) and Organisms (7 CFR 322.13)

Restricted organisms can only be imported for university and/or State/Federal Government research. Importation of restricted organisms requires a PPQ 526 Plant Pest Permit. Details for applying on-line can be found at the e-File Website. Restricted organisms require specific consideration when importing or transiting the United States. Importation of restricted articles and organisms requires that PPQ 599 shipping labels (red-and-white) that we provide to you upon issuance of the permit, be adhered to the exterior of each package and that the package must be addressed to the PPQ inspection station identified on the label. If a package is not addressed to the inspection station or if the label is not attached to the exterior of the package, it will be refused entry to the United States. If importing in your personal luggage aboard aircraft or vehicle (i.e., hand-carrying), then your permit must authorize this and the individuals hand-carrying must be identified. As stated in the permit conditions pertaining to hand-carrying, you must notify us at least 20 days prior to each incident so that we can issue special shipping labels for the specific incident and we can contact Customs and Border Protection, Agricultural Inspection, at the first port-of-entry. Failure to notify us prior to a hand-carry incident will result in the confiscation or refusal of entry of the restricted articles or organisms, even if you possess a permit that authorizes hand-carrying.

Information about Shipping Requirements and Red and White Labels

Information about Inspections

For questions about permits for regulated organisms and soil:

Pest Permits Team