The Bees That Take Up Residence Inside Snail Shells

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Osmia bicolor [emerge] as early as February in their native range of South England and Wales. As solitary bees, there are no queens and workers; females build their nests alone. Males emerge, mate, and then die.

They repurpose empty snail shells, belonging to a small group of bees known as “helicophiles” (snail-lovers).

Once she’s gotten her shell positioned, the female bee provisions her nest with a mix of nectar and pollen that she chews up and makes into a ball. One egg is laid on the pollen ball, and then mom-bee seals the egg up with plant material she chews into a paste and daubs into a wall.

Next, she fills the rest of the shell with grains of sand and tiny pebbles, for a tiny predator barricade. [S]he covers her shell nursery with a pyramid of dried grass and plant material. She sews the sticks and mosses together with her saliva to keep the mound in place.

Via Wired.

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About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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