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What is that sticky stuff all over everyone’s cars?

The answer is kind of gross...
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 3:36 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - All across Virginia, people are talking about it: what is up with the sticky stuff all over our cars, walkways and everything else? At my house, we noticed that a slate patio was in a word, sticky, for no apparent reason.

I wasn’t alone. I got a question from a viewer that I turned into a Facebook post:

Turns out, we weren’t alone. A lot of you have noticed this!

Turns out, it’s basically bug poop.

We went to horticulturist Peggy Singlemann at Maymont. She says soft-bodied bugs (mainly aphids and scales) are the culprit.

“They are up in the trees and they are munching on the tender new growth and they have a secretion. That honeydew coats the leaves and coats the branches, and it starts dripping down and coating what’s below.”

But why is it so bad this year? Could be several reasons.

Peggy thinks all the rain from last year stressed our trees. The bugs sense that and they start to feast. PLUS the long, cool, spring might have been good for bugs.

But Peggy and I think the reason we are noticing it more this year is the lack of rain - it’s been bone dry for weeks in many areas. With no rain to rinse off cars, and everything else, the “honeydew” isn’t going anywhere. With only 0.60″ rain in RVA in May through the 27th, all the honeydew is just stuck where it lands.

While the "honeydew" is gross and there’s lots of it, there’s no need to worry about your...
While the "honeydew" is gross and there’s lots of it, there’s no need to worry about your healthy trees.(NBC12)

It’s gross and there’s lots of it but there’s no need to worry about your healthy trees.

Peggy says beneficial insects like ladybugs will rise to meet the challenge, and eat the aphids. Or, you can just add washing the car to your honey-do list.

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