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Bugs behaving badly

If there’s one thing we don’t lack for here at the Ordinary House, it’s critters. Two of them, Meg and Louis, are invited guests. But then there are the squirrels and deer and skinks and snakes and wasps and chimney swifts – all uninvited and badly behaved. Apparently the local fauna enjoys east Hillsborough as much as we do. And now we’ve got another visitor staking a claim to this side of the ‘hood.

For the past several weeks, the stone walk from the driveway to the back door has become increasingly sticky. Tree sap, I figured. But the sticky stones got so tacky that our shoes were making a ripping sound with each footstep. Looking for the source of the gummy gunk, I peered upward and discovered that the trees above the walk are blanketed with these little buggers:

whiteflies on leaves

If I was a betting man, I’d say we’ve got whiteflies.  And they’re dripping a sea of honeydew, a word that I formerly associated with tasty white melons, not insect excretion. The stuff is seriously sugary, but might be tolerable if it didn’t provide a breeding ground for black soot mold, a layer of which now coats every plant and horizontal surface of our side yard.

black soot mold plant

That newly painted white fence? The top rail is nearly black in some spots.

black soot mold

I’m hoping that the cool fall nights will put a damper on the whiteflies’ goo-fest.  Until then, any tips for removing soot mold or preventing the flies from returning next year?

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Weezie #

    I’m glad to hear that Meg is invited.

    October 5, 2013
  2. Jan Irwin #

    I’m so glad you posted about this. We have the same problem and will be anxiously awaiting a response from someone about what to do next year to (hopefully) prevent it!

    October 6, 2013
    • jrh #

      Sorry to hear that you’re dealing with it too…must be an east side thing! I don’t recall having them last year.

      October 7, 2013

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