Sometime last fall I put a Zebrina detrita shell with a dead snail in it under a rock in my backyard. The snail was too decomposed to save in alcohol. So I wanted to get the shell cleaned by the ants and the other flesh-eating invertebrate denizens of the yard.
Over the last weekend, I remembered the shell and went out to retrieve it. It turned out that an ant nest, complete with eggs and larvae, had since taken over the underside of the rock, including the small plastic canister holding my shell. They might have been using the Zebrina shell to store their larvae. My lifting up of their roof sent them out in throngs. Pretty soon they were everywhere.
It wasn't easy to get the shell out of the container. The ants swarmed all over my hands and one brave defender of the nest did exercise its mandibles on my tender skin in the process.
When I returned a few hours later, peace and calmness had returned and my shell was ready to go.