San Antonio.- Don’t blame the kids or the big tree over your driveway for making your car disgustingly sticky every single morning. Instead, blame a much smaller culprit – the aphid.
It’s probably become part of your routine by now. Wake up in the morning, have your coffee, and hose off all the windows of your car so you’ll be able to see out of them. If so, then you’re one of the many victims of an aphid infestation, resulting in a constant rain of goo that’s enough to give anyone a headache.
You probably don’t care that the brownish substance gluing your car shut is called “honey dew,” and you most definitely don’t want to know that it’s actually aphid excrement. But you probably do want to listen to Wendy Meyer, co-manager of the nursery Shades of Green, on how to combat these sap-sucking insects.
“The best thing to do to keep aphids from infesting trees is to keep plants healthy,” Meyer explains.
When plants are stressed, they produce more sap, giving aphids a banquet. Aphids’ favorite feasts include crepe myrtles and pecan trees. So watch out if you have either of those hanging over the driveway.
“They are just part of the summer,” Meyer comments.
However, the recent drought could explain why the aphid invasion seems to be worse this year. Plants are much more stressed due to the heat and lack of water, attracting aphids from all over.
“I know when I walk under trees I notice the ground is particularly sticky, and I don’t really remember that before,” Meyer notes. “It could possibly be worse this year.”
If you find yourself sponging off your windows every morning, you probably only have one question on your mind – when will it end?
Unfortunately, the aphid downpour isn’t expected to stop until cooler temperature roll around. But if you want some relief in the meantime, Meyer recommends releasing ladybugs into your trees. With any luck, they’ll eat the aphids all up.
While the stickiness may be truly disgusting and a giant nuisance, thankfully it won’t cause any permanent damage to your car as long as you hose it off every now and then.
So grab your sponge and your lady bugs and wait out the sticky storm.