Rare Bee Sentenced To Death By UK Government, Then Escapes Capture
A search is underway for a fugitive bee that is believed to have hitched a ride to the U.K.in a holidaymakers luggage.
The insect travelled 3200 kilometres from Turkey to the United Kingdom in a bag, before making itself at home on the family's sofa in Bristol.
The bee -- thought to be the osmia avosetta variety -- was only noticed after it began leaving cocoons of flower petals on the cushions last week.
As innocent as it seems, experts warned the bee could endanger native species by spreading deadly viruses and out-competing British bees
"It's a genie in the pot," Michael Hunt from the Gloucestershire Beekeepers Association told the BBC.
"Once it's out there's no control over it".
As a result, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs sentenced the bee to death, confirming on Monday that it would catch and kill the animal.
The only issue -- the bee appears to have buzzed off.
The only trace of the insect is its creative cocoons which will be preserved to undergo DNA testing.
The department is pleading with anyone who has seen the bee to report it to a local beekeeping association.
This particular species of bee is known for its use of flower petals to construct nests for larvae, which was first observed by two different research teams in Turkey and Iran on the same day in 2009.
This is the first time the osmia avosetta has been found in the United Kingdom.
Not only has the insect now disappeared, it has also sparked an international row, with a major Istanbul newspaper calling for the bee's life to be spared.
"Don't kill the Turkish Bee," was the headline that ran in Hurriyet, according to a local journalist.
The Turkish media has picked up on the buzz around the Turkish bee. Hürriyet daily today reports on the Telegraph story with the headline, “Don’t kill the ‘Turkish bee’.” pic.twitter.com/RkuPeg1Qt7— Raziye Akkoç (@RazAkkoc) July 31, 2019
It's a sentiment that has been echoed around social media -- particularly Twitter.
"Overdue for a GoFundMe to fly the bee back to Turkey," said one user.
"I condemn England, the country who wants to kill a miserable BEE that travelled from Turkey via airplane," said another.
"Isn't anyone going on holiday to Turkey [that] could return the osmia avosetta be to save him from the swat team," a third user tweeted.
Others were sceptical about the type of bee found, pointing out that authorities never actually got the chance to verify the type of bee before it disappeared.