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Busy Bee Builds an Intricate Fortress

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This construction of grass stems takes bee architecture to new heights. The Red-Tailed Mason bee, nicknamed the Tent-Making bee, has solved the problem of other bees breaking into her nursery and it starts with a shell.

TRANSCRIPT

[Narrator] This construction of grass stems takes bee architecture to new heights.

The red-tailed mason bee, nicknamed the tent-making bee, has solved the problem of cuckoo bees breaking into her nursery.

After carefully picking a snail shell, she fills it with both leaf pulp and mud.

Like Nicky, every stage of the process involves decisions.

She spends a long time positioning the shell into just the right angle on the ground.

(bee buzzing) Even digging it into the soil to hold that position.

(bee buzzing) But that's just the beginning.

Next comes a huge undertaking.

(grass rustling) She gathers hundreds of bits of carefully chosen sticks of grass.

(bee buzzing) To drive the stems into the structure, she vibrates her wing muscles... which is why the whole thing hangs together.

(bee buzzing) Over three hours she assembles a structure more than 20 times her height.

Nothing can get into this fortress.

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