Sticky feet, cars and small children
Do your feet get sticky when you walk barefoot across the lawn and you haven't even been eating watermelon? Are small children starting to stick to your lawn furniture? Is your car's windshield covered with little sticky drops of liquid every morning? If so you are likely the victim of Excessive Honeydew Buildup.
Honeydew is a sticky sugary liquid which is excreted by sucking insects such as scales and aphids. It is mostly excess plant/tree sap that was ingested by the insects which they then excrete along with extra sugars and other wastes. Honeydew is sometimes so abundant that it makes things like grass, cars and lawn furniture sticky.
During hot dry periods aphid populations and honeydew production typically increase. Normally rain would remove or dilute the honeydew so it does not accumulate on surfaces.
The presence of honeydew often results in the growth of sooty molds. These are dark colored fungi that grow on the honeydew and may cover the surface of leaves, lawn furniture, buildings etc. The sugars and other materials in the honeydew apparently make a balanced diet for the sooty molds to thrive on.
Fortunately in most situations neither the aphids or the sooty molds
are a serious problem for your trees. See next article. As cooler temperatures
and rains return the amount of honeydew production will decrease. In the
mean time if possible avoid parking your car under the trees or wash it
more often. Lawn furniture can be hosed down to remove the honeydew. Sticky
feet are easily washed. Small children can generally be encouraged to free
themselves from the sticky lawn furniture by offering to take them swimming.