by VDOF Area Forester Lisa Deaton
Last week I was asked to see if a 16-year-old loblolly pine plantation had grown large enough for a commercial thinning.
I was perplexed to find what looked like pieces of honeycomb on the ground. There were no large hollow trees nearby, just young, solid pine trees.
Then I noticed that there were several pieces of it scattered around a nearby hole in the ground.
Also, the nest pieces were paper-like and not made of wax. Yellowjackets build nests in the ground, so perhaps a skunk or raccoon dug up this nest to eat the wasp larvae inside. I am embarrassed to say that after 30 years of being allergic to yellowjackets, I’ve just learned that they are wasps, and not bees.
I walked a little further and saw empty soybean pods on the ground.
A number of animals and birds enjoy eating soybeans, but why were these in the middle of the woods? I looked up, and realized I was fairly close to a soybean field (in the direction of the shining sun).
Here is one more photo from these woods of something mentioned in last week’s post: a buck rub, where a white-tailed deer had rubbed its antlers against a young hardwood tree.