Aphid ‘poo’ causing sticky situation for Winnipeggers

Walking down a Winnipeg sidewalk is a lot stickier lately. 

You can thank aphids for that, as their sticky poop is coating everything outside. 

Aphids, which are also known as tree lice, are small insects that suck sap from tree leaves, then excrete a sticky liquid onto surfaces below. 

The prolonged drought Manitoba is experiencing is allowing them to thrive, says Ken Nawolsky, Winnipeg’s superintendent of insect control. 

“They have ideal conditions. We have basically a drought, we’ve had a lack of rain and high temperatures. When you have that combination, you’re going to have a very high population of aphids,” he said. 

Some Winnipeg residents on Kildonan Drive say it’s the worst they’ve ever seen. 

“We know sometimes in the summer it gets sticky but it’s horrible this year. It’s just no end. You wash your chairs, you go out again, and you have to wash them again,” said Carol Vande Kraats. 

“Walking down the street your shoes are covered with stuff and you drag leaves and dirt inside. It’s bad this year. We’re tired of it.”

Regina Shiffman said the sticky goo has made it tough to enjoy her backyard this summer. 

“We tried power washing everything down and three days later it’s just as bad, so it gets to the point where you just don’t want to even come out anymore.” 

LISTEN | Winnipeg’s superintendent of insect control on why aphids are so bad this year:

Information Radio – MB8:06Winnipeg’s superintendent of insect control joins us to talk about why there’s so much aphid poo every where . . . we’ll also discuss why this dry weather means an increased risk of West Nile virus.

From extra sticky streets to an increased risk of West Nile virus, this drought is impacting the way insects behave in our city. The city’s bug expert Ken Nawolsky (Superintendent of Insect Control City of Winnipeg) tells us about our insect situation this summer, and what we can expect in the coming weeks. 8:06

Nawolsky said the city has been getting many complaints from residents about the mess, but there’s little they can do. Aphids reproduce about once every seven days, and there’s really no effective control measures for them, he said. 

 “As soon as you would do something on it, you’d be back kind of the next day because it’s a kind of an unusual, prolific year for them,” he said. 

“So if you did happen to treat one area, then they just come back.”

Usually the rain takes care of the stickiness, but unfortunately, the city hasn’t gotten much of that this summer, he said. 

If people are really bothered by them, they could try spraying their trees with a hose to knock some of the aphids down, he said.

Aphids, which are also known as tree lice, are small insects that suck sap from tree leaves, then excrete a sticky liquid onto surfaces below. The prolonged drought Manitoba is experiencing is allowing them to thrive. 1:01

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