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  • It might seem peculiar, bees living at the beach.

  • But this is their home, and they spend the  spring building their perfect beach condos

  • At their local watering holethey're not actually having a drink.  

  • They're collecting water as a raw material

  • They slurp it into a pouch in  their abdomen called a crop.

  • They can carry one sixth of their weight in water,  

  • hauling it to the side of this  cliff in Northern California.

  • Now that's a view!

  • Back and forth, back and forth, 80 times a day.

  • They're building their nests  from the cliff's mix of sand,  

  • clay and gravel, spraying water to soften it up

  • See how she extends her proboscis  and uses it like a hose

  • Then she digs and digs and digs. They're digger bees. The females  

  • build their nests side by side  in what's called an aggregation

  • The males, most of them have  died by now, after mating

  • The females work peacefullymost of the time.

  • Hey, make your own nest!

  • Some even make sandcastles, shaping  the earth they dig out into a turret

  • To do that, they pat down the wet  gravel with the tip of their abdomen.

  • Scientists think the turrets could help keep out  large parasitic insects, like other kinds of bees

  • This cratered landscape isn't unusual. Most of  the world's bee species – 70%! – nest underground.

  • The nest opening leads toburrow a couple of inches long.  

  • At the bottom, she digs holes called brood  cells. She will lay an egg in each one.

  • But first she needs to stock up  on food for her future offspring.  

  • This flower is a favorite for nectar.

  • And check out the pollen on this bee.

  • Wait a minute! That's not our digger  bee. That's a yellow-faced bumblebee.  

  • She'll sting you if you mess with her. Our  bee is a bumblebee mimic. She doesn't sting

  • The real bumblebee has a bright-yellow  band on the bottom of her abdomen.  

  • Our bee has a band higher up. By imitatingstinging bumblebee, she scares predators away.

  • Back from foraging, our digger packs pollen and  nectar into each cell and lays an egg on top.  

  • The larva that hatches out  will have a ready-made meal.

  • Then she tears down her turret, bit by bit.  

  • She uses it as mortar to seal her  nest closed and keep her eggs safe.

  • After finishing a couple of nests, the bee's  brief, hardworking life comes to an end.  

  • The beach will be her final  resting place. And next year,  

  • the ever-shifting sand will bear witness  to her young emerging from their nests.

  • Hi, it's Laura here, with a riddle for  you. Why does a Mexican jumping bean jump?  

  • Watch our episode to find out. And a special thank you to  

  • Lawrence Harris, whose generous monthly  support on Patreon helps make Deep Look  

  • possible. If you want to support us toothere's a link in the description. Thanks!

It might seem peculiar, bees living at the beach.

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B2 US bee bumblebee nest digger abdomen beach

This Bee Builds Sandcastles at the Beach | Deep Look

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    shihwun posted on 2021/09/20
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