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Hickory

October 7, 2017

Question

I have a large hickory tree at my lake house in Hot Springs.  A few years ago I started noticing a sticky substance coming from the tree.  I didn't think much about it and now have thousands of tiny, white, flying bugs swarming the area.  They cover everything.  I think they are aphids, but how do you treat a huge tree.  I'm tempted to just cut it down, but don't know if that will just make the aphids move to another tree.  What do you suggest?

 

Answer

This time of year it is not uncommon for trees to be raining “sap” or honeydew from aphids, especially as dry as it is.  In some parts of the state the oak trees are raining caterpillar “poop”.  Neither of these insects is harming the trees they are feeding on, but they are a nuisance to people underneath them.  I much prefer the shade to the small amount of nuisance.  In the case of aphids and honeydew, instead of spraying with an insecticide (which would not be cost effective on a large tree), just take a water hose and use the hardest setting and spray the leaves of the trees closest to the bottom.  Aphids are horrid swimmers (which is why they build up more when it is dry) and you can at least catch the ones at the base of the tree, which are the ones closest to the ground and thus causing more of the droppings on you.


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