Honeydew : aphid poo

For the last few weeks, the weather here has been very calm, dry and increasingly warm. Conditions are ideal for aphids and their numbers are booming.

juniperaphid 001s
An aphid on juniper – if you look very closely you can see a drop of honeydew coming out of the aphid’s rear
juniperaphid 002
This juniper has quite a heavy infestation on the undersides of the branches (but the colour variation is natural – it’s a variegated type).

Sometimes I hear people say that particular trees (especially lime trees) or shrubs create honeydew. And people don’t like that, especially if it drips down onto cars, or if it grows mould and mars ornamental plants. However, it isn’t really (not directly) the trees or shrubs that make honeydew. Honeydew is aphid poo (it can come through a few other bugs too). The aphids pierce through into the vascular system of the plant and the plant’s sap more or less flows out through the aphid – in at one end, a little bit is digested by the aphid, and a slightly thicker stickier ‘honeydew’ continually seeps out of the other end…

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