Dustin Humes for Unsplash

Last week my shoes were sticking to the pavement in my driveway — what did I step in, I wondered. The ground looked wet, despite many days without rain.

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Then I saw all the “What is this goo?” posts on social media.

“What in tarnation is all over my patio furniture?” wondered a Nextdoor user, and hundreds replied — a combo of further complaints and actual useful insight.

Turns out, across Texas, bugs called aphids are sucking sugars from pecan tree leaves, processing and excreting a gelatinous fluid called honeydew, which won’t kill the trees but can create an environment for sooty mold, which can be bad for trees. Most experts say the aphids aren’t causing any long term damage.

Last week, NBC 5 reported on the so-called “sticky situation.”

“It can be a little bit annoying,” urban wildlife biologist Sam Kieschnick for Texas Parks and Wildlife told the station, “but I like to say, with the tree comes nature. Aphids are natural. They’re part of nature. So when we put a tree up, there comes a lot of other things that use that tree, not just us for shade. But other bugs will use that for its food.”

A hard rain, or a car wash, will clear away most of the stickiness (it’s very water soluble so it doesn’t take much to wash it off, the station reported).

And once the weather cools and leaves fall, aphids won’t be a concern.

The aphids can be treated with insecticides that target sap-feeding bugs, according to Texas A&M. But the biologist who spoke to NBC 5 says pesticides will kill a bunch of innocent ladybugs.

Other management options can include planting winter legume cover crops to generate populations of beneficial predatory insects such as lady beetles and lacewings during the spring, according to Texas A&M.