‘No one knew they existed’: wild heirs of lost British honeybee found at Blenheim

‘No one knew they existed’: wild heirs of lost British honeybee found at Blenheim

The ‘ecotype’, thought to have been wiped out by disease and invasive species, is thriving in the estate’s ancient woodlands

Thousands of rare forest honeybees that appear to be the last wild descendants of Britain’s native honeybee population have been discovered in the ancient woodlands of Blenheim Palace.

The newly discovered subspecies, or ecotype, of honeybee is smaller, furrier and darker than the honeybees found in managed beehives, and is believed to be related to the indigenous wild honeybees that foraged the English countryside for centuries. Until now, it was presumed all these bees had been completely wiped out by disease and competition from imported species.

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