UK on alert due to Turkish bee

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** FILE ** This 1991 photo shows a close up of an Africanized honeybee or killer bee. A reader-submitted question about killer bees is being answered as part of an Associated Press Q&A column called "Ask AP" (AP Photo)

bee that was accidentally carried from Turkey to the United Kingdom in a British family’s luggage is to be destroyed if caught because it might endanger British species, said government officials.

The rare osmia avosetta variety is deemed as a threat to the ecosystem in the island country, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said, according to The Telegraph.

The bee had been living in and around the Toy family home in Bristol since their return from the coastal district of Dalaman in Turkey’s Aegean province of Muğla last week, the British daily said.

U.K. officials announced that they intended to destroy the insect, but the Toy family announced that the bee had escaped from their house.

Despite the Defra announcing that the bee poses a potential risk to native species, Tim Lovett, a renowned expert, said it was highly unlikely one animal would cause a problem, particularly as the chances of it cross-breeding are very small, according to The Telegraph.

“To be dangerous it would need to set up a viable home and start breeding, and if it hasn’t brought a mate with it, then the chances of that must be next to none,” Lovett, also a former president of the British Beekeepers Association, was quoted as saying by the daily.

“I think it’s an understandable reaction in that they [Defra] want to be seen to be doing something. But I don’t think it’s got much of a chance in any event,” he reportedly said.

Ashley Toy, 49, and his daughter Amelia, 19, contacted the officials after spotting the osmia avosetta bee – a solitary species found only in Turkey and Iran.

Hurriyet Daily News

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