Here we are at the end of summer and I have now found the answer to an issue that has dogged me all summer, the mess of black goo collecting of everything outside this year… Thought it was tree sap—but not the case.
This year’s wet spring has proved to be a great set up for Lecanium Scale. (Small insects that feed on the tree sap of many trees in our area.) When they feed, they produce what is called: “honeydew”. It is a very sticky, sweet smelling substance that is excreted when the insects poop… because it is sticky, it adheres to cars, outdoor furniture, and decks etc.
This substance can attract bees, and flies. It can also cause mold to develop. “Honeydew“ has become quite a nuisance around the lake turning freshly stained and cleaned decks and furniture, into black sticky messes.
Scale can be treated in the spring before things get going, systemically, or trees can be sprayed to kill the pests. The folks who treat for this can readily be found. (Creekside Landscaping is one of the companies that do this). Treatment this fall, and in the spring will do a good job of knocking this back.
For more information, see: http://bugs.osu.edu/~bugdoc/Shetlar/factsheet/ornamental/Lecaniumscales.PDF
I have wondered why we are having such a time keeping things neat and tidy around the lake—now I have the explanation. Also, this has caused me to wonder where the origin of the term: “Honey do list” might have come from.