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October 31, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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Page 4B October 31, 2018 MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson yellow jacket is one of our most reviled insects. In fact, I can safely say I personally do not know anybody that has a kind word to say about these small (1/2-inch) yellow and black wasps. However, it seems that folks most often talk about their dislike for the yellow jacket in fall. I suppose this is because we seem to encoun- ter this annoying, stinging insect at this time of the TERRY W. year. For weeks, yellow jackets have seemed to be everywhere. If we go on a picnic, they quickly swarm about the food and beverages that make the event so special. The simple act of changing the nectar in a hummingbird feeder is a dangerous proposition when the feeder is covered with yellow jackets. If you are a hunter, they invade your campsite and often make deaning a deer a chal- lenge. Yellow jackets are preda- tors and scavengers. They forage for foods packed with carbohydrates and sugar. Among the items consumed are tree sap, nectar and the juices of fruits and berries. Since the insect is fond of sugary foods, it rarely misses the chance to sample our soft drinks and food. Throughout much of the summer, yellow jackets spend a lot of their time hunting spiders, ::] caterpillars, flies and other invertebrates. In fact, it has been estimated that JOHNSON yellow jackets are capable of capturing more than two pounds of insects from a 2,000-square-foot garden plot. In its role as a scavenger, this member of the wasp family scavenges on every- thing from dead worms, insects and other inverte- brates to road-killed animals and other carrion. The yellow jacket is a so- cial insect that lives in colo- nies consisting of a queen, infertile female workers and males. The queen is much larger (0.75 inches in length) than the other members of colony. It is also the only member of the colony that is capable of overwintering. Once she emerges from her winter sanctuary, her first task is to find a suitable place to establish a nest Most often she selects an abandoned rodent burrow or other hole in the ground. Occasionally yellow jackets will nest In buildings, aban- doned vehicles, and hollow trees. Once the nesting site has been sdected, she chews up bits ofwood to the consis- tency of wood pulp and uses it to fashion a small nest Once dry, the nest appears to be made from thick paper She then begins lay- hag eggs, which hatch into infertile female workers in roughly three weeks. From then on she remains in the nest, laying eggs the rest of her life. The workers are responsible for expanding the nest, providing food for the queen and young, and defending the colony. By the end of the sum- mer, a typical nest, which is roughly the size and shape of a football, will be home to upwards of 800 yellow jack- ets. However, an astounding 250,000 yellow jackets were found occupying a large nest located near Charleston, South Carolina. We are all well aware of the fact that yellow jackets will vigorously defend their nests and sting when provoked. During an attack, a yellow jacket can sting an intruder multiple times without los- hag its stinger. In addition, when it feels threatened, the insect will release something called an alarm pheromone. Once other yellow jackets detect the chemical, they immediately become aggres- sive and join the attack. For the most part, yel- low jackets will not attack unless they are antagonized or we venture too close to a colony. However, late in the summer folks seem to be stung more often than at any other time of the year. This may be because yellow jackets are more abundant. However, they also become less tolerant of one another A yellow jacket searches for nectar. Yellow jackets forage for food packed with carbohydrates and sugar. (Photo/ Terry Johnson) and seem more prone to sting without provocation. Since this behavioral change coincides with a switch from a predominantly protein diet to one rich in carbohydrates and sugars, some suggest this may affect their aggres- sive fall behavior. All the while this is tak- ing place, new queens and males are hatching in nests scattered across the country- side. Soon the young queens begin storing the fat that will sustain them throughout the coming winter. Eventually they reach the point where they abandon their nest and are pursued by the males. Once mating takes place, the males die and the fertile queens search for suitable winter quarters, such as a hollow tree or beneath the bark of a tree. Back at the nest, the number of workers slowly dwindles. With the onset of cold weather both the work- ers and the old queen die, leaving the nest to deterio- rate. The once vibrant hub of activity will probably never be used again. In spite of their obnoxious, behavior, yellow jackets do have some redeeming val- ues. Remarkably, mammals such as bears and skunks dig up the nests and devour the juicy young. Yellow jackets also eat a number of insect pests that plague ornamen- tal and agricultural plants. In addition, while collecting nectar they play a small role in pollination. In addition, Native Americans once used yellow jackets to prepare a , soup. It is dear the yellow jacket will never win a popularity contest. In the meantime, perhaps researchers will someday discover some previously unknown value attributed to this small, stinging insect. In the mean- time, perhaps the best thing for us to do is just stay out of its way. Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endan- gered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column "Monroe Outdoors" for the Reporter for many years. Email him at wood- duck@bellsouth.net. By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymccnet 1-he Mary Persons Bulldogs could make history Friday by winning a four consecutive region championships for just the second 'ne in school histor The Bulldogs, 9-0 overall (4-0 in Region 2-AAAA), will host the Howard Huskies at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Dan Pitts Stadium. An MP victory would give the Bulldogs their fourth straight region crown, a feat accom- plished only once before from 1977-1980. It would also guarantee MP would host the first two rounds of the AAAA state playoffs with the possibility also ofhostiug the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds as the Bulldogs did a year ago. MP enters the final week of the regular sea- son coming off of a 40-3 home rout of Perry last Friday. The win kept the Bulldogs in the No. 2 spot in the Atlanta Joumal-Constitu- tiods AAAA rankings, released Sunday. Top- ranked Blessed Trinity edged Marist 10-7 last Friday, enabling the Titans to remain atop AAAA. Blessed Trinity's win, which clinched the Region 7-AAAA rifle, also guaranteed the Bulldogs cannot meet the Titans until the AAAA state championship game as long as MP takes care of business against Howard. Howard, 6-3 overall (3-1 in Region 2-AAAA), shares second place in the region with Upson-Lee, 6-3 overall (3-1 in Region 2-AAAA), who MP already defeated 49-14 on Oa. 5. If Howard beats MP, there would be a comphcated three-way tie atop the re#on ifUpson-Lee beats last-phce Spalding at home, as expected. All three schools are assured of top-3 finishes in the region while Perry and West Laurens will battle in Perry on Friday for the regiods fourth and final state playoffspot MP head coach Brian Nelson said of Friday's region showdown: "Howard is really good, and it's going to be about like every other game we've played. We're going to have to get in there and work real hard this week at practice and try to execute on Friday night But they're really, really good. I just hope we can stay hungry and not be satisfied with where we're at and keep trying to strive for more" The Bulldogs enter Friday's contest on a 20-game Region 2-AAAA winning streak dating back to 2014. The Bulldogs and Hus- kies have met eight previous times MP winning all eight meetings. Last years contest ! was by far the most competitive in series history with MP holding on for a 17-14 mad victory to ensure a third straight undefeated season in Region 2-AAAA play. All ofthe scoring came in the first halfin 2017 with MP's Bralen Harvey scoring a pair of touch- downs, on a one-yard run and a 68-yard fumble return, respecrive . The Huskies' physical defense limited the Bulldogs to just 190 total yards, their second-lowest output of the season. However, the Dogs' defense was even better, forcing Howard's star dual-threat quarterback, Quentan Sewell, into a night- marish night Sewell completed only 4 of 19 passes for 40 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for just 27 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. The senior Sewell has bounced back with a stellar senior season, passing for 829 yards and 11 touchdowns on 51 percent comple- tion percentage while also rushing for 584 yards and seven touchdowns. A pair ofju- niors, Jeremiah Kelly and Javarsia Meadows lead Howard's rushing attack, having com- bined for 1,279 yards and 11 touchdowns. Meadows is also Sewell's favorite receiving target, having caught a team-high 21 passes for 325 yards and four touchdowns. On de- Friday, Nov. 2 7:30 p.m. Dan Pints Stadium Tickets: $10 (available at United Bank) LAST MEETING: Nov. 3, 2017 MP 1Z Howard 14 PREDICTION: Mary Persons 38, Howard 17 fense, senior comerback Lorenzo Hargrove leads the Huskies with four interceptions while another senior, linebacker CJ. Grims- ley, leads Howard in tackles with 40. Howard, led by first-year head coach Paul Carroll, opened its season with a narrow 34-28 loss to AAAAA powerJones County in Macon on Aug. 16. Howard then re- bounded with three straight impressive wins (50-14 over A FPD on Aug. 24, 46-26 over AAA Central Macon on Aug. 31 and 28-21 over AAA Westside Macon on Sept. 7). The victory over Westside was the first win over the Seminoles in Huskies' program histor3n However, Howard was unable to come back from the high of the Westside win the follow- ing week, losing 24-6 at AAA Jackson in its final non-region game on Sept 14. Howard then opened region play on Sept. 28 with a 16-10 win over West Laurens before beat- ing Perry on the road 35-16 on Oct. 5. After a bye week, Howard fell 38-24 at home to Upson-Lee before easily handling Spalding 35-13 on the road last Friday. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' offense continues to set records. In just nine games, MP has already scored 407 points in 2018, which is tied for the fourth-most in program history, and is only 52 points away from surpassing the 1994 squad as the highest-scoring team in MP history. MP has already obliterated the regular season program scoring record of 375, also set by the 1994 team. To put this in further perspective, MP'S current average of 45.2 points per game would break the previ- ous highest mark, set in 1994, by 10 points per game. MP's current 34-point margin of victory is also easily the highest in program history, surpassing the 1994 te 's previous best mark of a 26-point margin. MP's offensive headliners in 2018 have been the backfield tandem of quarterback I.T. Hartage and running back Quen Wilson. With 182 passing yards against Perry, Hart- age has now thrown for 1,886 yards, surpass- ing his previous school record of 1,865, set in 2017. With 18 touchdown passes, Hartage also needs only two more to surpass his previous school record mark of 19, also set in 2017. Meanwhile, Wilson continues to chase history ofhis own. After a 169-yard rushing night last Friday, Wilson surpassed f,000 yards in a single season for the first time in his illustrious career. And with 1,136 rushing yards, he needs 527 rushing Fards to surpass Alvin Tales' 1980 single season school record total of 1,663. With 20 rushing touchdowns, Wilson is also only six rushing TDs away from breaking the previous single season school record mark of 25, set by Zach Harvey in2016. The MP defense also continued its im- proved play last Friday, holding Perry to a single field goal. After giving up 14.2 points per game in non-region play, MP has yidded only 7.5 points per game in region play. MP will honor its senior football players, band members and cheerleaders prior to Friday's game. The MP senior football play- ers have compiled a record of 42-7 in their four-year careers. X COUNTRY Continued from Front 27 seconds while sophomore Stormie Martin recorded MP'S final counting time, placing 17th with a time of 24 minutes, 37 seconds. Other MP girls runners who competed on Thursday but did not record counting times included: sophomore Christina Medlin, who placed 20th with a time of 24 minutes, 59 seconds, and junior Jackie Gore, who placed 24th with a time of 25 minutes, 55 seconds. Howard placed fifth with 111 points and did not qualify for state while Spald- ing did not have enough competitors to record a team score. McElhaney said she was confident that her girls squad would come out on top, but she knew the boys race would come down to just a few points. She said outstanding races by Battles, Remick and Haworth made all the difference in the Bulldogs coming out on top. As for the girls race, she said the Lady Dogs' runners made it a point to stay dose to one another, which would mean they were near the top ofthe field. She said Martin's 17th place finish proved to be the difference because MP has needed a fifth runner to emerge beyond the typically excellent top four. The MP JV girls squad also finished in first place with a total of 26 points, edging second-place West Laurens, which finished with 29 points. Perry's Georgia Maddox was the IV girls individual champion with a time of 22 minutes, 34 seconds. MP'S top JV girls runner was sophomore Logan Landers, who placed fourth overall out of 18 total runners with a time of 26 minutes, 9 seconds. Other MP IV girls runners who competed on Thursday induded: Chloe Kell, who placed sixth with a time of 27 minutes, 53 seconds, Noon Imsuksri, who phced 12th with a time of 30 minutes, 19 seconds, Rebecca Jones, who placed 13th with a time of 30 minutes, 20 seconds, and Milly Supichayapak, who placed 16th with a time of 33 minutes, 58 seconds. Meanwhile, Perry fin- ished in first place in the IV boys meet with a total of 33 points, outpointing West Laurens, who placed second with 38 points. West Laurens' Evan Carter was the JV boys individual champion with a time of 19 minutes, 57 seconds. The MP IV boys squad did not post a team score, but several MP runners competed as individuals. Jon Thomas Smith placed 19th overall out of 48 total runners with a time of 22 minutes, 2 seconds, Mitch- ell Whittidd placed 20th with a time of 22 minutes, 8 seconds, and Hunter Benson placed 23rd with a time of 22 minutes, 28 seconds. The MP varsity cross coun- try squads will next compete at the AAAA state champi, onship meet at Carrollton High School at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Wachtel, who placed third in his initial state race in 2017, said he expects the AAAA boys individual race to be a head-to-head battle between himself and Marist's Left Anderson, who finished ahead of Wachtel at a recent meet at Mill Creek on Oct. 13. Wachtel said having raced in Carrollton before, he has leamed to anticipate the hills better and to pace himself smarter in his second try at a state rifle. The MP boys squad has finished in the top 21 at state in each of the past five seasons while the MP girls squad has finished in the top 21 in each ofthe past two years. McElhaney said she would be pleased ffboth MP squads make it into the top 15 at state this time around. "We don't just wanna go to state,' McElhaney said. "We wanna compete at state" To benefit the C.A.R.E. Cottage of Monroe Co. November 4, 2017 - Sign-in 10AM Ride will begin at 11:00 AM from 524 Cabaniss Road Forsyth, GA 31029 After-The-Run Get Together at the Monroe Co. Moose Eodge Raffle Baskets, Prize Drawings, Free Food Entertainment, Saturday 1:00 PM BIG MIKE & THE BOOTY PAPAS Please make your gift or donation at least $10 Let's make this a special Christmas For all Monroe Cmm KddM!!! RIDE SAFE!I! For more info call 478-957-2853 No calls after 9 PM **This event is for the sole p~ of helpS Monroe County children at Onistmas. It is not sponsored-by nor assoclaied idth any organized motorcycle ch~. Eceryune is wdcome to ~dpate and we appreciate your geaerogs donations, however, we must ask that you leave any colors, at6tudes Jnd v~apuns at home for tl~ event. The organkbr of this event is not responsible for Jny lore or inj~ to any person or property.