NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you have hackberry trees in your yard, you might have noticed a black sticky substance coating your car and other objects beneath it.
It’s a seasonal nuisance for many caused by Asian wooly hackberry aphids, tiny little fluffy white bugs.
“In the fall time, we get this stuff that comes down from the trees and it lands on cars and the kids toys,” said Steven Roth, a Williamson County resident.
“And it becomes this sticky, tacky, black, goo type of fungus stuff and you can’t wash it off. You have to take a scrub brush and it’s really disgusting,” Roth added.
Dr. Frank Hale, an entomologist, told WKRN these types of aphids are exotic pests that weren’t here until about 2001.
“It came in the 90s to the southeast, probably from Asia or China. These aphids, they’ve been on the trees all year. They have sucking mouth parts. They have taken on lots of fluids. The excess fluid is then excreted as ‘honey dew,’” he explained.
“And these little droplets coalesce, and just like droplets of rain, they drop down on the leaves and anything below that,” Hale continued.
Dr. Hale, with the UT Institute of Agriculture, said there are some insecticides you can drench the ground with in spring or early summer to help the problem.
“It contains the active ingredient imidacloprid. You drench this around the base of the tree, and it is taken up by the roots up to the leaves, and it actually kills the aphids before this infestation gets going,” he said.