What are those annoying flying white fur ball looking things?

PHOTO: Virginia Department of Forestry

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--If you're new to Nashville or have always wondered what those little white things floating around are then you've come to the right place.

They're called woolly aphids, part of the eriosomatinae family. These flying fur balls do more that just leave white blotches all over your car's bumper and stick to your clothes. These insects suck on the sap of plant life, most-often roots, branches, and twigs.

According to Washington State University, the reason these little critters are so sticky is because they're covered by white, waxy filaments secreted from the abdomen.

They also produce a honeydew substance that sticks to areas around where they feed, leaving behind a sticky, slippery trail. That's because they're taking in more sap than they can hold so have to release the extra via secretion.

According to Lispscomb University, this is the time of year the aphids are reproducing and laying eggs in tree branches. So it's not only your bumper, parking under a tree will likely leave you in need of a full car wash.

So how can you get rid of the critters? According to Mother Nature Network, any branches infested by the bugs should be hosed off with a strong spray from the water hose. You can also mix water with dish soap in a spray bottle and spray the affected areas every 2-3 days until the aphids are gone.

Another way is to buy some ladybugs and put them on the affected plants. Ladybugs, along with birds are a natural enemy to the aphid and feed on them.

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