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In Ground Living - History

In Ground Living - History

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Many people lived in dugouts, which are houses partly in ground.

23 Unique and Functional Underground Houses That Will Amaze You

Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.

Have you ever considered living underground?

Well, when I was growing up there was a road we often traveled to get to my great grandmother’s farm. On this road was a house that was built underground. It was odd looking to me at the time, but I’ve grown to really appreciate a unique home as I’ve grown older.

Then the other day, I was browsing through a forum I follow on social media when I came across a question someone was asking about building a home underground. That home from my childhood came flooding back to me.

So I decided to do a little research on the internet and see what type of underground homes really do exist. I wanted to share my findings with you all, so in the event that you might be interested in building a home underground, you could use this as inspiration.

Even if you are satisfied living above ground, you may still find this very interesting. Here is what I found:

Beneath Las Vegas' Glittering Strip, Homeless People Live In Storm Tunnels

LAS VEGAS – Donovan looked out on the swanky casino looming in the distance. Traffic whizzed along the nearby highway overpass. He stood, sockless in tennis shoes, at the mouth of the concrete tunnel where he lives, a five-minute walk from Caesars Palace hotel. Graffiti covered the tunnel walls that disappeared into darkness behind him.

After arriving in America’s gambling capital from California in 2013, Donovan had planned on working, but things didn’t turn out well. “It all went downhill, and here I am,” he said. Like others in this story, he agreed to be identified by first name only.

Donovan has been taking shelter in the concrete flood channels and tunnels that run directly under the Las Vegas Strip for the past two years. These dark passageways are part of a huge drainage network designed to protect the glittering casino district and its sprawling suburbs from flash flooding. And Donovan’s not alone down there. It’s estimated that nearly 300 homeless people live in these tunnels .

Although the figure represents just a fraction of the thousands living on the streets of Las Vegas, the tunnel dwellers are among the most difficult to reach for the social workers, who work below ground by flashlight to offer everything from clean socks and sandwiches to a chance at substance abuse treatment. Those living here choose to go underground for a variety of reasons, authorities say, but many suffer from substance abuse ― including heroin, crack and meth ― alcoholism and mental illness.

The conditions they endure are extreme. A heavy rainstorm can send millions of gallons of water rushing at up to 30 miles an hour through the concrete drainages. The last three flood-related drowning deaths in the city involved homeless people in the tunnels, said Erin Neff, spokesperson for the regional flood control district. “It’s tragic, to put it in one word.”

Flood district personnel, homeless advocates and emergency first responders try to encourage tunnel residents to vacate their camps during Las Vegas’ monsoon season, which runs from June to September. They don’t always succeed. Neff recalled the story told by one firefighter of a distraught homeless man who lost his grip on his partner and could only watch as the roaring torrent swept her away. Her body was recovered miles downstream.

The distressed man still chose to stay in the tunnels. “It’s the reality: Some of them just don’t want to come out of there,” Neff told HuffPost. “It’s heartbreaking.”

For Amanda – who’s battled drug addiction and has a criminal record – the tunnels provide a place to set up a home and set down roots of sorts, even if it will likely be flooded as soon as the monsoon comes.

By torchlight she showed us her bedroom, pushing open a plywood door and pointing proudly to her knick knack collection and the cutout roses tacked to the makeshift wall. The place is usually cleaner, she insisted, grabbing a broom and dusting off a rug spread on the concrete floor.

Amanda has lived underground for about a year, accessing her hidden home via a drainage canal near the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. She was on the street before she moved into the tunnel. She and her partner, Robert, have worked hard to make this space feel like a home ever since. “It’s better [down] here,” said Amanda. “As weird as it sounds.”

Paul Vautrinot, a substance abuse caseworker, knows firsthand how difficult it is to get out of the tunnels and stay out. The 32 year old spent three years living underground and failed multiple times to get clean from his heroin addiction. After a warrant arrest for drugs in 2014, he went to rehab and got sober. He now helps operate Shine A Light, a small nonprofit that connects those living in the tunnels with safer housing and rehab programs. Vautrinot leads weekly outreach visits to the tunnel communities, handing out hygiene kits, bottled water, sandwiches, and socks to anyone who wants them.

HuffPost joined Vautrinot on one of these visits, arriving at a tunnel not far from a queue of 200 tourists waiting to take selfies at the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. There, Vautrinot met Big Craig, a soft-spoken Navy veteran who was reluctant to leave the tunnel, but put in a request for help to replace his broken-down size 13 shoes. The ground near Big Craig’s camp was littered with hypodermic needles. Vautrinot pulled out his phone and made a note to remember to bring shoes next time.

Many people in the tunnels are heavy drug users, Vautrinot said, and persuading them to accept free rehabilitation services and safer housing isn’t easy. On our trip with him, many declined to accept more than a sandwich. Some, however, agreed to take a black rubber wristband with Vautrinot’s personal cell phone number printed on it, as well as the number for his associate, Robert Banghart, a fellow recovering addict and former tunnel resident. Both men are employees of Freedom House Sober Living, an alcohol and substance abuse treatment program that also runs Shine A Light.

Despite the dangers down here, tunnel residents are often reluctant to return to life aboveground. Amid a shortage of homeless services, an increasingly severe affordable housing crisis in Las Vegas and hostile policies toward homeless people, leaving the subterranean camps poses its own risks.

Overwhelmed by need, government and social service nonprofits find themselves in an endless game of catch-up. Las Vegas has one of the worst rates of urban homelessness in the country. Roughly 5,500 people are homeless in the city. Yet only 2,000 shelter beds are available in the whole of Clark County, home to Las Vegas. “Our shelters are full or nearly full every night of the year,” said Emily Paulsen of the Nevada Homeless Alliance.

Even if there were enough spaces, it’s not enough to get a homeless person into a temporary shelter bed unless there’s also an affordable housing option for them at a later date, said Kevin Schiller, the assistant county manager in charge of family and social services. Las Vegas is the second least-affordable metro area in America, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, with only 14 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 of the city’s poorest renters.

Although the issues of homelessness and affordable housing are commonly analyzed separately, “they are all connected,” said Schiller.

Since the 2008 recession, real estate developers have focused more on building luxury rental units than on housing for low-income people, according to county commissioner Tick Segerblom. Clark County estimates that it needs 59,370 units to serve those already caught in the crunch. The county has embarked on an ambitious plan to incentivize affordable housing for developers with tax abatements and other breaks. So far, the county has funded just six affordable apartment complexes with a total of 503 units, but six more apartment complexes are planned, officials added.

Earlier this year, the county diverted a portion of the revenue from its legal marijuana industry to fund homeless services, including housing efforts. But Segerblom told HuffPost that “the marijuana funds aren’t enough” to meet the county’s needs. More investment is needed, he said.

While the city struggles to get a grip on its housing and homelessness crises, it has opted for policies that criminalize homeless people. In November, it passed a controversial ordinance making it a misdemeanor to camp or sleep on certain streets when there are shelter beds available. The measure, which will be enforced from February 2020, will affect residential areas and the downtown district, where most homeless services are located. People who violate the ordinance could face a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail.

While the measure won’t directly impact people living in the tunnels, Paulsen said it’s likely to increase distrust between homeless people and organizations that try to connect them with services. “If someone is fearful that they are going to be arrested or ticketed, they are going to disengage from street outreach,” she told NBC News.

Until the city can meaningfully address some of its housing problems, Donovan, Amanda and Big Craig don’t see themselves leaving the tunnels anytime soon. The world that awaits them above still feels more frightening than the dangers they face below ground.

There’s no quick fix, Banghart says. Sometimes it takes dozens of visits to the tunnels to build a relationship.

“We show up every week,” he says. “We show them we care. We shake their hands and look them in the eyes and let them know there is an option. We offer them hope. A lot of the time it takes showing up week in and week out and letting them know we care. There is a way out. We are there when they are ready.”

If it matters to you, it matters to us. Support HuffPost’s journalism here. For more content and to be part of the “This New World” community, follow our Facebook page.

In New York, the weather is relentless. Those who do not have homes are at the mercy of the elements during freezing nights. So, they look for shelter anywhere they can find warmth. Abandoned places are a perfect refuge.

The places where homeless people live are dangerous. Rodents and reptiles lurk through the tunnels. There are debris and other hazards in the dark. Plus, the darkness conceals criminals, and mole people are often the victims of attacks. Theives even steal what little they have.

Inside the World's Largest Underground Survival Community: 575 Luxury Bunkers for 5,000 People

The rambling, green hills of Fall River county located near the Black Hills in South Dakota, is the location for a spectacular new underground survival community featuring individual bunkers for 575 families and a total underworld population of 5,000. This is Vivos xPoint, and it is the world’s largest shelter escape.

From the remote road, you first come across a landscape of hundreds of earth-covered domes in perfect rows with their concrete exteriors providing a stark contrast to the lush surroundings. This was Fort Igloo, where for over 24 years the US Army’s Black Hills Ordnance Depot created jobs for thousands of workers and their families. This was a community that many former residents still have fond memories.

Vivos xPoint Underground Survivalist Community

Among the original residents was famed television newscaster Tom Brokaw, who lived there when he was just a boy along with his family. Brokaw wrote fondly about his time at Fort Igloo in his memoirs, “While my Dad was at work in igloo, Mother was at home with three boys under the age of four. My youngest brother, Mike, had been born at the base, just fifteen months after Bill. We were confined to that small space during the harsh winter months, and yet I cannot recall any sense of hardship or any bickering between my parents. As my mother likes to remind me, "Everyone was in the same boat."

Gallery: Exclusive Images Inside the Billionaire Doomsday Bunker

He continues, "My entire world, from the surrounding arid hills to the uniforms and vehicles, was khaki brown or olive green - except for some strangers confined to a stockade on the edge of Igloo, who wore bright orange uniforms and spoke a strange language in rapid-fire fashion. They were Italian prisoners who had been shipped a long way from the front lines of southern Europe to sit out the war in South Dakota.”

A young Tom Brokaw when he lived at Fort Igloo with his family (photo courtesy of Tom Brokaw)

Because of the remote location, almost all of the civilians lived in federal housing at the Fort. The Igloo community also included schools, shopping and entertainment facilities with a theater, bowling alley, country bar, swimming pool and a recreation center.

More than 800 bunkers were used to store weapons and ammunition for the military, and in the 1950’s it was listed as one of the largest cities in the state. Fort Igloo was closed during the summer of 1967 when the government shut it down. It has been over 50 years and the ghost town of Fort Igloo will now be transformed by Vivos and its founder Robert Vicino into the xPoint Survival Community.

Aerial view of private bunker at Vivos xPoint Survival Community

The massive complex is spread over a sprawling and remote, off-grid area of approximately 18-square miles. It is strategically and centrally located in one of the safest areas of North America, at a high and dry altitude of 3,800 feet, relatively mild weather and well inland from all large bodies of water. It is over 100 miles from the nearest known military nuclear targets.

Vivos xPoint Underground Survival Community

Vivos will provide 24-7 onsite security, with military trained guards, “members only” access gates, state-of-the-art security devices, camera systems, onsite management and offices, all within the high security, military fenced property.

Interior of private bunker at Vivos xPoint Survival Community

Water is pumped from two water wells, reaching thousands of feet deep into an artesian aquifer, then stored within the massive underground, reinforced concrete water tanks, with a water distribution system being deployed to each bunker. Each bunker is buried and protected under thick berms of earth, with extensive grading for drainage, across the gently sloping grasslands.

Interior rendering of Vivos xPoint Private Bunker

Onsite amenities are planned to include, a General Store, a members-only Restaurant & Bar, BBQ areas, a Community Theater, Hot Tub Spa, Gym, Medical Clinic, Hydroponic Gardens, Meeting Rooms, Classrooms, a Chapel, Horse Stables, Shooting Ranges, Vivos Equipment and Construction Supply Depot, Woodworking Shop, Maintenance Shop, Metal Fabrication Shop, and a fully built-out showroom bunker to demonstrate how each can be outfitted and equipped.

Rendering of interior layout of private bunker at Vivos xPoint Survival Community

Each bunker provides enough floor area, with attic potential, to comfortably accommodate 10-20 people and the needed supplies, which would last for a year or more. An autonomous shelterization from virtually any catastrophic event. All bunkers feature a standard 26.5’ interior width, with lengths of 60’ and 80’, each with a 13’ high ceiling to the top of the interior arch. Protection will be mitigated for virtually all known threats as each bunker includes a massive existing concrete and steel (4’ x 8’) blast door, that may be additionally sealed to stop all water, air and gas permeation an air and exhaust ventilation shaft, and space for a rear ceiling escape hatch that can be embedded into the concrete structure as a secondary emergency exit.

Vivos promises the biggest feature is the extremely low and affordable price with each bunker being privately sold for $25,000, with a land lease and bunker lease for 99 years. Owners can bring as many friends and family members for their private bunker at no extra charge. Each bunker is offered in its “as-is” condition, ready for outfitting and provisioning by the buyer, including the needed interior mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, power generation, air filtration and exhaust), and the build-out and furnishing to suit personal needs.

Entrance to individual bunker at Vivos xPoint

Vivos or any contractor can provide the components and equipment systems required. Vivos can also provide a totally turnkey shelter. New owners decide if they want solar or wind power to back up generators a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) air filtration system back-up battery power and an inverter a hydroponic and aquaponics garden area geothermal heating and cooling low voltage lighting systems a full kitchen, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, dining and living areas, a theatre, flooring and wall finishes, the size of your storage area, private security safe(s) for your valuables and toys, satellite service, virtually everything to meet your personal requirements and concerns. The bunkers will be a blank canvas to prepare as much, or as little as you like, with no restrictions on when you can use it, or how many people will share it with you when catastrophe hits.

Layout of interior bunker at Vivos xPoint Survival Community

According to developer Robert Vicino of Vivos “We are repurposing the bunkers into the largest survival community on Earth. With one stroke, Vivos xPoint will accommodate as many as 5,000 people to ride out whatever natural or manmade events may come our way. With each bunker providing shelter for up to 20 people, Vivos xPoint makes a life-assurance shelter solution affordable to virtually every family and group. We have already received hundreds of requests from people wanting to claim their own bunker. The project is now underway, and soon each bunker will be under construction to suit the fit and finish that each family/group requires. We are even receiving requests to store precious metals and collections from elite buyers, now moving their treasures out of Europe, in anticipation of WW3 across the EU. “xPoint” was coined as the: Point in time that only the prepared will survive.”

Check out the video presentation from xPoint below:

The largest doomsday bunkers in the United States are not only for civilians. In 1992, a Washington Post writer by the name of Ted Gup exposed the hidden bunker at Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. For decades the retreat of government and Presidents, the resort has a massive bunker located below the West Virginia wing complete with an auditorium large enough for the House of Representatives and a separate space for the Senate Chamber. Holding a television studio, hospital and living quarters for all members of Congress in the event of a nuclear war. Tours are now available of the bunker to visitors of the resort.

All You Need to Know About Sunken Living Rooms

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Bellevue, WA

Recessed living areas known as sunken living rooms&mdashand their cozier cousins, conversation pits&mdashspread like wildfire during the 1960s, appearing in newly built houses across the nation. For nearly 20 years, they were the grooviest way to entertain guests or just kick back with the family. They abruptly fell out of fashion, with some homeowners even remodeling to remove them, but with so many homes built during that period featuring a sunken space, you&rsquore still likely to see this fun and funky element on open house tours.

Step-down living room design can be traced to a visionary architect named Bruce Goff, who incorporated the feature in a home he designed for one of his instructors in 1927. The idea didn&rsquot catch on nationally, however, until it appeared on the set of The Dick Van Dyke Show in the early 60s, and then&mdashseemingly overnight&mdashthe trend caught on and home builders began incorporating it on a widespread basis.

Whether you have a sunken living room that you&rsquod like to update or you love this architectural anomaly enough to integrate it into a new home design, keep reading. We&rsquoll share the ins and outs of this fascinating design component and explain how you can get the look&mdashor get rid of it.

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Chantilly, VA


Requiring a recession in the floor, sunken living rooms and conversation pits (a lowered section of a room, with seating) are best-suited to homes with concrete slab or crawl space foundations. Because the recessed area of the floor would reduce headroom in a basement, rendering it useless for general living purposes, sunken spaces are rarely found in homes with basements. During construction, the builder alters the foundation to form a recessed shape in the concrete slab to serve as the basis for the sunken area. Alternately, the recession will be framed from dimensional lumber if the house sits on a crawl space foundation.

The sunken area can be virtually any shape or size, and the depth typically ranges from a few inches to a few feet or more (with multiple steps), depending on the client&rsquos wishes.

In the &rsquo60s and &rsquo70s, the conversation pit was often carpeted&mdashwith shag, baby!&mdashcontinuously along the main floor level, down the sides of the pit, and then along the pit floor, which visually tied the recessed area into the rest of the room.

Today&rsquos sunken living rooms and conversation pits (yes, they&rsquore still constructed) can be incorporated into virtually any design theme, from contemporary to country to classic.

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Warren, NJ


Step-down design defines separate living spaces without the need to erect walls, so sunken living rooms and conversation pits work well in large open areas, such as great rooms. They offer some positive design benefits but come with a few drawbacks as well.


  • Sunken areas offer increased headroom, creating a feeling of spaciousness.
  • A conversation pit provides a cozy space that&rsquos perfect for intimate entertaining. While it&rsquos separate from the rest of the room, it&rsquos not isolated.
  • The recessed area draws the eye and breaks up the visual monotony that can otherwise occur in large rooms.


  • It can be challenging (or impossible) for those with mobility issues to use the sunken areas.
  • Sunken areas without a railing increase the risk of falling. The biggest complaint about sunken areas revolves around falls and the injuries that accompany them.
  • A sunken living room located in the traffic pattern of a home can make it inconvenient to go up and down steps whenever walking from one part of the house to another.
  • It can be difficult to rearrange furniture in sunken living rooms/conversation pits because many require custom-designed seating that follows the perimeter of the space.

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Gig Harbor, WA


If you love the look of sunken living rooms, the best way to get it is to buy an existing house that already has one or include it during the construction of a new house. Remodeling to include this recessed feature usually isn&rsquot practical, due to the need to alter the home&rsquos weight-bearing structure.

The builder of your new home will make provisions to recess the floor area during the construction of the foundation. Depending on the size and configuration, a sunken living room could add 10 to 20 percent to the combined costs of building the foundation and finishing out the living space, due to the additional labor in forming the recession plus the cost of custom furniture to fit the area.

If you hope to incorporate a sunken living room or conversation pit into a new house, you&rsquoll most likely have to install railings on the steps and perhaps safety railing along the top edge as well, depending on local building codes. If you purchase an existing home with a sunken living room, railings won&rsquot be required, but they&rsquore not a bad idea if small children or the elderly are often in your home.

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Springfield, VA


One homeowner&rsquos &ldquovintage!&rdquo is another&rsquos &ldquodated!&rdquo Fortunately, older homes with sunken living rooms can be updated by bringing the recessed floor area up to the level of the rest of the floor.

If the recessed area is less than six inches deep, and it was originally formed with concrete, there&rsquos a chance it can simply be filled with additional. Because it&rsquos a part of your home&rsquos structure, however, you&rsquoll need to consult a structural engineer to ensure that the new concrete won&rsquot add too much weight to the existing foundation. Sunken areas more than six inches deep can be brought up to level by framing a new floor from dimensional lumber within the sunken area. Once the new flooring is installed, no one will know the room once hosted a conversation pit.

Having a sunken living room brought up to floor level can range in price from $5,000 to $25,000 or more, depending on the size of the area and the remodeling method. If other architectural features are involved, such as a fireplace located in the sunken area, removing or altering them will add to the cost of the project.

Chairs are a Recent Invention

Second, chairs only recently became part of our lives. Folks as early as the ancient Egyptians had them, but they were a luxury item reserved for the upper classes. Your average Neolithic human sat on chests or benches until chairs became a mass-produced staple that everyone could afford. Earlier than that, for most of human history, formal-sitting furniture simply didn’t exist. Paleolithic posteriors surely rested upon rocks and logs and stumps when the opportunity arose, but those aren’t the same as having permanent fixtures that allow you to take a load off whenever you want. Human bodies were not designed with chairs in mind. We did do a lot of lounging around – I’m not arguing we never stopped moving or anything – but we did so on the ground, rather than on a bunch of folding chairs.

Sitting down in a chair does funny things to our bodies. It stretches out our glutes, making them inactive, loose, and weak. People by and large no longer know how to activate their butt muscles due to excessive amounts of chair sitting. Sitting in a chair also keeps the hip flexors in a short, tight, contracted position for extended amounts of time, which can inhibit full hip extension and lead to that hunched over position you often see older folks shuffling around with. And that’s not even mentioning the extensive (and growing) literature showing how sitting for too long increases mortality and degenerative disease, which I’ve covered in plenty of posts and Weekend Link Loves. This post isn’t really about that, anyway.

What might be most important, though, is what sitting in a chair doesn’t do. It doesn’t allow us to rest in the full squat position, an ability we’re born with but quickly forget how to do. It doesn’t let us do much of anything. Sitting becomes a totally passive act, where we’re slumped over, shoulders rounded, feet twisted up and resting on the chair legs, totally dependent on the structure of the chair to support our weight – rather than using our musculature and arranging our skeletal system in such a way that we support ourselves. Doesn’t it seem inconceivable that an animal – any animal – would evolve to require furniture in order to rest comfortably without incurring a disability?

That’s partly why it makes some sense to hang out on the floor more.

Cherokee Indian

The Cherokee Indian nation originaly lived in the appalachian mountains.

A fixture in American history, the Cherokee Indian Nation has a unique and proud heritage.

The Cherokee Indian Nation has its own legends that speak of Cherokee history before the white man came to America. According to Cherokee Indian legend, a &ldquoGreat Buzzard&rdquo flew close to the earth when it was still new, and its tired wings touched the ground in a few places. As the great bird&rsquos wings touched the ground and then rose again, valleys and mountains were created that became the Cherokee land.

The original Cherokee Indians lived close to what is now called the Tennessee River, in the Appalachian Mountains. In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto discovered the Cherokees, which was the beginning of many hard years for the Cherokee Indian Nation. Along with horses and guns, the Spanish also brought diseases that the Cherokee Indian Nation had never been exposed to, and therefore had no immunity to.

Though it was the Spanish that brought death and disease to the Cherokee Nation, the Cherokee Indians were blamed for the inability of DeSoto to colonize this part of America. An image was created of the Cherokee Indian as one of a vicious savage, and settlers who later came to that area of the country already believed this prejudicial notion. Though many old &ldquowesterns&rdquo portray the Cherokee Indian Nation as a heartless and cruel foe to the settlers, the actual fact was that it was mostly the other way around.

Today the Cherokee Indian Nation still survives as a proud and honorable institution, despite the hardships it was put through by explorers and settlers. Today, natives and non-natives alike enjoy Cherokee Indian ceremonies and events, and the Cherokee history and traditions are held in high regard.

While most people have no idea that these bees even exist, we can assure you that they most surely do! There are many different types of ground bees, and yes, they burrow themselves under the dirt and make their nest underground.

Here are some of the more common types found in North America:

  • the common ground bee
  • the alkali bee
  • the bumblebee
  • the mining (or digging) bee

What Kind Of Bees Live In The Ground?

Here are pictures and descriptions of the most common kinds of ground-nesting bees.


The bumblebee is the most recognizable ground bee.

They construct their nest underground often in old mouse or rabbit burrows, or other holes and gaps formed naturally.

The queen bumble will store up honey and lay eggs and then tend to them once hatched.

Sometimes the nest itself will be quite close to the surface. It will be partially formed with wax and pollen.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees look very similar to bumblebees, but they have a smooth rather than fluffy abdomen.

Carpenters will often build their nest in trees, even if they have fallen to the ground. They are known as a bit of a pest because they will also build nests in house siding.

These bees are solitary bees that do not nest in large numbers. If you see them coming out of the ground it’s more likely to be the young coming out.

Miner Bees

Miner bees, also sometimes known as digger bees, are another type of bee that lives in the ground.

It’s such a feature of what they do that it’s where they get their name from!

They come in a range of sizes and color variations and can have hairy or hairless abdomens. The common color is a black and white stripe.

These are also solitary bees who dig into dry soil to build their nests. The female will store pollen and nectar for her young when they hatch.

Underground Bees

One of the most interesting things about them how many there are! So many people have ground bees in their yard, without ever knowing it.

Ground bees are just as important as honey bees, pollinating fruit, vegetables, and flowers. Unless they are being a nuisance, or are in the way, you should not be concerned about them taking up residence in your yard.

Here is a video of a ground bee building and guarding its nesting spot.

Ground Nesting Bees

Ground nesting bees can find or create an opening underground between rocks, wood, or other garden features. That was the case with the nest in our backyard.

In that instance, there was nothing to identify the nest other than the bees going in and out of it. We turned it into a bit of a homeschool lesson for the kids.

In other cases, the bees will burrow down into the ground through bare patches in the lawn. You may notice a small pile of dirt up to 2 inches high, where the bees have dug out tunnels underground.

Other times, any sign of a mound may have disappeared. They may only be a small hole to give away an exit or entrance to a ground bee nest.

The dead giveaway to a nest is, of course, to see the bees coming and going.

It’s not uncommon to hear of people disturbing ground bee nests with chainsaws, lawnmowers, or weed eaters. If this happens, try to work out where the nest is and work around it.

If you were to get too close with heavy equipment or machinery then they would become upset.

Do Ground Bees Sting?

Most ground bees tend to be very gentle and non-aggressive, but they do sting. If they believe their life or nest is threatened, they will defend it with their stingers!

If you were to accidentally dig into a nest, the bees would, in all likelihood, attempt to sting you. However, it’s good to simply be aware that some bees live underground. That way you won’t be surprised if something like that happens!

The other common way a ground bee nest is accidentally disturbed is when mowing the lawn. The nests are easily missed and run over with the mower. This will bring the bees out.

How To Get Rid Of Them

These bees are usually very easy to move on, without the use of overly harmful poisons, sprays, and other lethal methods.

If you have to move them, turn the garden hose on low and put it down into the nest to flood it. Ground bee nests have multiple exits/entrances, and they will quickly move to another location. Hopefully not in your section!

Ground Bee Predators

Like 99% of creatures, ground bees have natural predators.

The number one predator of bees is always going to be spiders, of course, but that always feels like it’s more in the natural order of things!

  • Predatory birds like woodpeckers (they go after carpenters bee larva in particular)
  • Varieties of wasp
  • Bears can target different types of ground bee nest
  • Smaller mammals like foxes, hedgehogs, mice, skunks

Every part of the world will have its own specific threats to bees. If you can avoid destroying nests when you come upon them, it’ll be one less predator they have to worry about!

Bees In The Ground

We hope you’ve been able to learn more about these fascinating bees that live undgeround.

  • In springtime, you may begin to notice that there are far more bees coming up from the ground. That’s because these bees hatch from the ground in the spring.
  • The queen bee will make several tunnels once inside the underground nest. She will create all sorts of entries and exits in order to be ready to evacuate.
  • The queen will also create several horizontal tunnels and chambers. She will then lay one single egg at the end of each.

What else do you want to know about bees that live in the ground? Please ask any questions or leave any comments down below!

Koalas are among the most easily recognised of all Australian animals, however, they often go unnoticed as they rest wedged in a tree fork, high in a gum tree. From the ground, a koala may appear to be little more than a bump on the tree itself.

The fur on a koala's bottom has a 'speckled' appearance which makes koalas difficult to spot from the ground. The easiest way to discover a koala resting in a tree involves looking down, not up. While a koala sitting in the crown of a tree can be difficult to see, its droppings on the ground are quite obvious. These are small green-brown, fibrous pellets about 20 mm long and as thick as a pencil. The fresher the pellets, and the more abundant, the more likely koalas are somewhere overhead.

Another sign that koalas are around is the distinctive call given by males during the breeding season over the summer months. The call is produced as the male 'snores' as he inhales and then gives a loud, deep roar as he breathes out. On a still night, the call can be heard almost a kilometre away. Females may also produce a low-pitched bellow similar to a male to indicate they are ready to mate. They will also 'squawk' and 'wail' during mating.

Watch the video: Being Betsy: Why Living History Matters. Carol Spacht. TEDxWilmingtonSalon (June 2022).


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