It sure is great to be able to park your car, truck or SUV under a nice big
shade tree on a hot summer day to keep it cool. That way the vehicle
and steering wheel isn't
sweltering hot when you prepare to go someplace.
However, if that tree is infested with insects,
the sticky droppings onto your vehicle's finish may not be worth
that extra coolness when it comes time to wash it.
Green aphids on a shrub.
Aphids come in different colors.
It is my suspicion that most of these
complaints result from the work of aphids which are also
known as 'plant lice.' These small insects behave like little
vampires, drawing sap out of tree leaves.
Plus the aphids have some
great help. Ants work in harmony with them in a symbiotic
relationship, acting as 'farmers' by moving them to the best feeding
sites which are usually the tender growing tips of branches.
Aphids draw-out more tree sap (Honeydew)
than they need, so what isn't harvested by the ants ends up dripping
onto vehicles parked beneath the tree. This will be most common
during the summer when the trees are in full leaf.
Signs of aphid activity:
- Ants travelling up & down a
- Bee activity around the leaves
- Blackened leaves with sooty
Scale insect activity on Magnolia
Mid to late summer is also a
season to watch parking under trees with dropping berries or
fruit. And of course birds can mark a car parked in the wrong
place at the wrong time.
So watch where you park!