Are you seeing cars, sidewalks, driveways, or other plants covered in sticky stuff, especially those under trees? This sticky substance, called honeydew, is produced by certain insects that excrete it when they feed on plants. Plant leaves look shiny and honeydew may be so thick that it drips off the leaves onto the ground or other plants underneath. And in some cases, a black, powdery fungus called sooty mold grows on it, causing the plant's leaves to look dirty.
We've written about quite a few of the insects that produce honeydew in our blog, so here is a list of the possible culprits that may be causing the mess this time of year:
The hackberry woolly aphid is a major pest on
If you are puzzled by curling leaves on plants in your garden or landscape, you may need to do some detective work to figure out the cause. Curling leaves can be caused by many problems, including insect damage, disease, abiotic disorders, or even herbicides.
Pests have popularity contests too. We recently looked at how many visits our popular Pest Notes publication series received in 2017.
If you aren't familiar, the UC IPM Pest Notes series are science-based publications written and reviewed by experts on specific pest or management topics for California. UC IPM has 169 Pest Notes with some being more popular than others.
Here are the 20 most visited titles in 2017:
1- Carpet Beetles
For the third year in a row, carpet beetles was the most viewed of the UC IPM Pest Notes series on our website! This commonly occurring indoor pest can be accidentally brought into your home on cut flowers or through open doors...
Are you surprised to see aphids on some of your plants this time of year? With the current mild temperatures in California, aphids may continue living and reproducing in some locations this winter, with female adults giving birth to live young every day.
Low to moderate numbers of aphids aren't usually damaging, but allowing them to continue reproducing on your plants may mean more aphids this spring. Once aphid populations explode in spring, their feeding can turn leaves yellow and stunt shoots on certain plants. Aphids can also produce a great deal of honeydew, a sticky byproduct of their feeding.
For information on how to manage aphids in many situations, consult the
You're probably familiar with lady beetles (aka lady bugs), common beneficial insect predators that prey on aphids and other soft-bodied insects. However, lady beetles are not the only beneficial predators that can be found in your garden and landscape.
Other “natural enemies” such as assassin bugs, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, predatory wasps, spiders, and predaceous ground beetles attack and kill pests. In some cases, both the adults and larvae are predators. It's important to recognize the different life stages of these beneficial predators so you know they are helping control pests and not attacking your plants.