A 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.
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) 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 outcompete British bees.
It had been discovered constructing cocoons out of flower petals by the Toy family, who had recently returned from Dalaman, Turkey.
When the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found out it announced it was preparing to capture and kill the bee.
But the insect was too fast - and hours later the bee was nowhere to be seen having flown off before the anyone could catch it.
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The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), part of Defra, said it would be collecting the cocoons and would continue to “monitor the situation.”
They asked people to report any sightings of potentially non-native bees to a local beekeeping association.
Ashley Toy, wife Louise and son Joshua came back from a break in Dalaman around a week ago.
The family believe a mason bee or a larvae - only found in Turkey and Iran - made its way into their suitcases while they were on holiday.
They only discovered the apparent stowaway when dad Ashley 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 since Friday morning.
It is thought it's the first time this type of mason bee has been spotted in the UK.