Monday, June 3, 2013

Walking In A Honeydew Rain

A honeydew rain....
scale insect honeydew on striped maple leaf
   The other day I walked through a predominantly oak forest... through a honeydew rain.  Throughout the acres and acres of the stressed oak forest the leaves of the understory vegetation were covered with sticky glistening droplets of honeydew.
scale insect honeydew
 Everything was splattered with honeydew.   Ferns.  Fallen leaves.  False Solomon's Seal.
scale insect honeydew
  Who is making it rain so much honeydew?  Why is all this liquid dripping from the oaks?
  Here is a view looking up at the dripping oaks at the source of the honeydew.  The oak twigs and branches are covered with many small bumps.  These are Oak Lecanium scale insects.  Sap-feeding insects that definitely don't look like insects.
lots of bumps on oak branches - oak lecanium scale isnects
  This oak forest has been hit hard -- stressed by the heavy infestation of the scale insects.  Now I don't place all the blame for this unhealthy-looking woods on the scale insects.  I suspect other stresses are also to blame.
stressed oak forest
 Here is a photo of a honeydew droplet about ready to drip from some oak lecanium scale.
oak lecanium scale insect honeydew
   By the way, honeydew is excess liquid.  The scale insects take in much more sap than they can hold.  They need to process this extra volume of sap in order to get all the nutrients they need.  They take out what they need and the excess... they let go.
Oak lecanium scale insect honeydew
Those oak lecanium (scale insects) wee-wee'd on my wide-angle lens.  Actually, they leaked on all my lenses. They tinkled on my truck.  They sprinkled on my...

Next post will be about the honeydew rain-makers... Oak lecanium scale insects.

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