Brillig doesn't have a bio yet.
The Great, Sweet, Sticky Precipitation Event of 2012
By: Brillig , 6:00 PM GMT on August 17, 2012
This year will go down as a record year for precipitation of a different sort.
All over town, people have been complaining about their vehicles and plants being sticky. Are their plants dripping sap? Are they sick? What about the mold everywhere? What can I do about it?
The culprit is aphids. Aphids are not unusual. In fact, this same sort of infestation happens every year with pecans and crepe myrtles. But never has it been as bad as this year.
Here's how it works. Aphids survive on plant fluids. Contrary to what most people think, they don't suck fluids from the plants. They simply pierce the plants. The plants actually pump the fluids into their bodies. In fact, the plants are so efficient at pumping the fluids that they pump the aphids up faster than they can metabolize the fluids. The excess is secreted as honeydew.
The honeydew gathers as a droplet at the end of their abdomens until it is too big to remain there. Then it falls off. The result is honeydew precipitation.
Since honeydew is mainly plant sap, the sugar content is very high. It lands on objects, including upper surfaces of leaves, roadways, and cars. As the water evaporates, it turns into a sticky, syrupy substance that dirt sticks to. While it still has some moisture content, mold takes hold, taking advantage of the free food supply.
Overnight as temperatures cool, dew forms on cold surfaces, including the accumulations of honeydew. In this say, the honeydew gets reconstituted each night, thus encouraging the growth of the fungi.
Staff at a local car wash have reported that these fungi can actually stain the clear coat finish of cars.
Current forecast shows rainfall this weekend. Perhaps it will wash away the layers of honeydew that have accumulated for the last month or so.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.