Honey, I’m home! Giant bee thought to be EXTINCT makes miraculous comeback

Un-BEE-lievable! The Violet Carpenter Bee, otherwise known as a Black Bee because of the distinctive dark violet, almost black colour of its wings and body, was declared officially extinct in 2002. Stowarzyszenie Natura i Człowiek/Facebook

A large bee not seen in Poland for 70 years has made an incredible comeback after ecologists turned to the internet for help in finding the insects.

The Violet Carpenter Bee, otherwise known as a Black Bee because of the distinctive dark violet, almost black colour of its wings and body, was declared officially extinct in 2002.

The Violet Carpenter Bee is the biggest bee in Poland, reaching even 2.5cm.Thomas Bresson

The Nature and Human Association (Stowarzyszenie Natura i Człowiek), which started the initiative to monitor the black bees and encourages people to photograph and share their encounters with the insects, shared on Facebook: “Thanks to your activity, in 2018 we managed to find as many as 26 NEW Violet Carpenter Bee stands (Xylocopa violacea). Thank you for being with us and we can’t wait for the next season of search.”

First reports of the bees’ sightings began to emerge in 2004 and again in 2005. By 2016 they were identified in six permanent habitats.Luca Gobbato

First reports of the bees’ sightings began to emerge in 2004 and again in 2005. By 2016 they were identified in six permanent habitats – Wrocław, Oława,  Miechów, Włoszczowa, Western Bieszczady Mountains and Poleski National Park.

The Violet Carpenter Bee is the biggest bee in Poland, reaching even 2.5cm.

They nest in old, rotten wood where they drill corridors, hence the name and are a protected species.

The initiative to begin photographing the rare bee and post the pics on Facebook came from the Nature and Human Association (Stowarzyszenie Natura i Człowiek).MellieVG

Poland is home to 470 different bee species, with the western honey bee being the most common.

While the bees work is estimated to be worth four billion zlotys per year, they are still threatened by the loss of their natural habitats and pesticide use.

Pollination and honey production are the main sources of bee-related income created by over 1.55 million bee families.

Poland is home to 470 different bee species, with the western honey bee being the most common.Kalbar/TFN

Poland remains both an importer and exporter of honey and according to the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics in 2017 Poland imported 26.5 thousand tons of honey, produced 15.2 thousand and exported 15.5 tons, meaning that some of the honey was re-exported.

To read TFN’s report on Bees in the City, click here