Stowaway bee that travelled from Turkey to UK in a couple’s suitcase could be a threat to British species
- Family accidentally brings bee back in their luggage found in Turkey and Iran
- The Toy family, of Bristol, found petal cocoon at home and the bee flying outside
- The family had come back from a summer break in Dalman, Turkey a week ago
- Experts are warning that the non-native species puts Britain’s bees under threat
Britain’s bees are under threat after a family accidentally brought a non-native specimen home in their holiday luggage, experts have warned.
When Ashley Toy, 49, spotted an unusual petal cocoon on the conservatory sofa, he had no idea that it have been left by a stowaway that had travelled back from his family’s summer break in Turkey.
He threw the nest away but the next morning, his daughter Amelia, 19, spotted an unusual bee outside their home in Bristol.
Ever since finding the Turkish insect, pictured above, the family have opened the back door every morning and watched in awe as the insect flies in and out with petals from their hydrangea, creating intricate nests
She did some research and learned the type of bee, osmia avosetta, is only found in Turkey and Iran.
The family came back from Dalaman, Turkey, a week ago. The Toys contacted the British Beekeepers Association which then alerted the environmental authority Defra and the National Bee Unit.
An association spokesman warned the rare bee could have a ‘devastating effect’ on native mason bees, adding: ‘Non-native species like this bee pose several problems and need to be controlled.
‘They may carry viruses that will wipe out native species or they may simply out-compete similar species for food sources.’
Meanwhile, the bee is happily constructing numerous beautiful cocoons in the family’s conservatory – 1,800 miles from home.
Ever since finding the Turkish insect, the family have opened the back door every morning and watched in awe as the insect flies in and out with petals from their hydrangea, creating intricate nests.
‘It was bringing in these petals and creating little cocoons or little petals,’ Miss Toy said.
When Ashley Toy, 49, spotted an unusual petal cocoon on the conservatory sofa, he had no idea that it have been left by a stowaway that had travelled back from his family’s summer break in Turkey. A Turkish beach is pictured above last week [File photo]
‘Every morning it comes in when we open the door. Then it goes in and out, in and out. I’ve never seen anything like it before.’
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust said it was not aware of osmia avosetta ever being seen in the UK before and advised that it could be illegal to release a non-native species into the wild.
Miss Toy said: ‘I guess if Defra are involved it must be a pretty big deal. They haven’t advised me to capture it yet. It’s there now, flying in and out with the petals. I’m completely baffled.’
The National Bee Unit has contacted the family and is working out what to do next.