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Honeydew

Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid, secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap. When their mouthpart penetrates the phloem, the sugary, high-pressure liquid is forced out of the gut's terminal opening. Honeydew is particularly common as a secretion in the Hemipteran insects and is often the basis for trophobiosis. Some caterpillars of Lycaenidae butterflies and some moths also produce honeydew. Honeydew can cause sooty mold on many ornamental plants. Honeydew is also secreted by certain fungi, particularly ergot.

Honeydew is collected by certain species of birds, wasps, stingless bees and honey bees, which process it into a dark, strong honey (honeydew honey). This is highly prized in parts of Europe and Asia for its reputed medicinal value.

Ants may collect, or "milk" honeydew directly from aphids and other honeydew producers, which benefit from their presence due to their driving away predators such as lady beetles or parasitic wasps.
Posted on May 8th, 2014
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