Episode 3, “The Mating Game” premieres Wednesday, May 9 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
A group of male Dawson’s burrowing bees fights for the chance to mate with an outnumbered female. In their violent frenzy, they accidentally kill the object of their desire.
[Narrator] This male Dawson's burrowing bee is waiting for a mate.
[buzzing] And he's impatient.
Beneath this baked earth, thousands of females have been dormant for nearly a year.
But winter has arrived and now they're stirring.
The male's wait is nearly over.
The problem is, he's not the only one here.
[buzzing] Male burrowing bees feverishly patrol ten thousand entrances to this colony.
[buzzing] Early in the mating season, they outnumber an emerging female hundreds to one.
[dramatic music] [insect chatter] The white face of an unsuspecting female.
She will mate once... then never again.
To get this precious prize, the males have to fight it out.
[buzzing] A ball forms around her as they wrestle for the chance to mate.
[buzzing] Males attack rivals with their powerful jaws and spiny legs.
Broken wings spell death.
The colony is littered with the bodies of battle-scarred bees.
And another is about to join them.
In their frenzy, these males have accidentally killed the object of their desire.