The strange sticky substance that some Winnipeggers have found all over their cars has been identified as aphid poo – commonly known as honeydew.

An aphid is a very small sap sucking insect that is currently infesting the American Elm population in Winnipeg.

It’s suspected the relatively dry spring and early summer helped the aphid population grow, while the heavy rains – which can sometimes help naturally control them – came too late.

David Wade, surveillance program coordinator with the City of Winnipeg’s Insect Control Branch, says they have received reports of aphid infestation, but they don’t monitor or control populations.

“Normally they don’t cause enough significant damage to a tree to cause any death to a tree,” said Wade.

University of Manitoba lecturer Jordon Bannerman said aphids are commonly found on a variety of trees in Winnipeg but this year’s population on the American elms is unusually high.

“We saw early and continued heavy outbreaks of what appears to be one species of aphid that feeds only on American Elm,” said Bannerman.

“When they are feeding on the plants they are ingesting a ton of sugar, and they don’t really need all that sugar, so what they essential do is poop out all of the excess.”

While it isn’t dangerous, the sticky aphid poo can promote the growth of mold, which in turn can stain streets, decks and other surfaces.

Aphid poo can be cleaned with a bit of soap, water and a little elbow grease.

Bannerman Says this particular aphid will spend its entire life on the elms, which means there will be no poo relief until the end of summer.

“When there are a lot of aphids feeding on a plant, which is what we are seeing in Winnipeg this year on the American Elms, they tend to make a mess,” said Bannerman.