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Turkish bee sentenced to death could be British, experts claim

A honey bee on a dandelion, Sandy, Bedfordshire, seen on May 6, 2012 [@orangeaurochs / Flickr]

The Turkish bee being hunted by the UK government could be British, experts claimed on Thursday.

The chief bee curator at the Natural History Museum, David Notton, said that examining the nests left at its Bristol hideout found them to be ‘too untidy’ to be a Turkish bee.

In an interview with the Telegraph, the bee expert claimed that the characteristics were not in line with that of the Osmia avosetta, the species of bee it is believed to be, and is in fact the handiwork of a patchwork leafcutter bee, which is native to the UK.

Mr Notton said: “This species is obviously different from Osmia avosetta. The pollen brush under the tail is bright orange, whereas it is white in Osmia avosetta.”

He continued: “The nest is consistent with a nest of Megachile centuncularis [patchwork leafcutter bee] in size, shape, situation.”

If the bee was Turkish, he claimed, the runaway bee would’ve been burrowed into the ground. Notton has said he is “confident” that tests on the nests created by the fugitive bee will return showing that the species is in fact native to Britain.

The Turkish bee allegedly hid in a family’s suitcase as they returned from Turkey. The bee was discovered flying around the family’s conservatory.

The Department of Environment and Rural Affairs subsequently sentenced the bee to death, for fear it could spread viruses and endanger bees native to the UK.

This case has sparked a controversy in Turkey, which has demanded the bee’s life be spared by the British government.

The case continues.

WATCH: Sentenced to death, Turkish bee makes a buzz in the UK

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