A Shell Nesting Bee

Trai Anfield and naturalist John Walters are searching for the industrious masonry bee that makes its nest in an empty snail shell.

Solitary bees build their nests in some interesting places, but none more so than Osmia bicolor, a mason bee that's preferred real estate is the empty shells of snails. Emerging in spring a few weeks after the males, the mated female spends two days lining and provisioning the shell before laying her eggs and sealing the shell. But she's not finished yet. Perhaps to prevent hungry predators in search of its original slimy occupant from destroying her nest, the snail bee hides the shell under a wigwam of twigs and sticks. Join presenter Trai Anfield and naturalist John Walters as they look for this pioneering little bee on the chalk hillsides above Cerne Abbas.

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22 minutes

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Natural Histories

Nature that has had a profound impact on human culture and society across history.