A British Government department has urged people to be on the lookout for a rare Turkish bee that has escaped after being carried into the UK in holidaymakers’ luggage.
As reported by Yahoo News UK, the British Beekeepers Association warned that the bee — the osmia avosetta species — could have a “devastating effect” on British bees, after it flew away from a makeshift nest inside a Bristol home.
Experts said it could endanger native species by spreading deadly viruses or multiply and eventually “out-compete” British bees.
The family which inadvertently imported it from Dalaman, Turkey, where they had spent a holiday, reportedly discovered that the bee was constructing cocoons out of flower petals in their home.
When the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found out, it announced its decision to capture and kill the bee.
The insect, however, flew away before the DEFRA could carry out its threat.
Meanwhile, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, a department of DEFRA, said it would be collecting the cocoons and also continue to monitor the situation.
The two agencies also asked members of the public to report any sightings of “potentially non-native bees” to a local beekeeping association.
The family believe that a mason bee or a larvae, which is only found in Turkey and Iran, made its way into their suitcases while they were on holiday.
They only discovered the insect when they found a beautifully constructed and unusual petal cocoon on the sofa in their Bristol home.
The family watched as the bee flew in and out of their house with petals, but it hasn’t been seen for almost six days now.
It is thought it’s the first time this type of mason bee has been spotted in the UK.