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View Diary: Deep Dark Woods - The Year of the Hornet (153 comments)

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  •  Reposting my lingering curiosty about the nests (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, foresterbob

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    It's one of the things that makes Daily Kos a (0+ / 0-)

    unique and special place. That someone, such as yourself, can write such a detailed and personal story of your experience in the woods, and it can find it's way to interested readers, such as myself in NYC.

    Your writing was so loving and complete, I could almost feel what is was like to have hornets "inspecting me" from the ground up.

    I also enjoyed thinking about the seasonal oscillation the you pointed out.

    BTW, that diary has lingered in my mind and I have a few more questions. What are their paper nests made of, and how does part of their life cycle serve to redistribute nutrients across the forest floor?

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 05:38:02 AM PDT

    •  The nests are constructed of paper, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener

      made by chewing wood fibers, mixing with saliva, and carefully adding to the existing next. They build an inner comb structure with hexagonal tubes for the eggs and larvae, and surround it with a round or oval cover consisting of overlapping sheets of paper. It's an amazing construction job which takes place over a span of a few months, and is then abandoned at the end of the season.

      Check the two photos posted by Milly Watt about halfway through the comment section, showing a yellow jacket and a hornet gathering wood fibers.

      •  That is interesting (0+ / 0-)

        So their role in forest nutrient redistribution is to take wood fibers, released by the shredders (ants, fungi, bacteria) and break them down further to build an annual nest.

        Am I understanding it correctly that their net role in nutrient use/distribution is to redistribute carbon across the forest floor where the paper can be consumed by molds, soil bacteria, and earthworms?

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 09:40:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Their work probably has little effect (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener

          on the carbon cycle, other than to speed it up a bit. They seem to prefer dead wood, which is going to eventually decay anyway.

          Once the nest falls apart, it gets recycled rather quickly because the layers are thin.

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