Soft scales and mealybugs excrete large amounts of honeydew, which provides an excellent medium for the growth of a black fungus called sooty mold.

Besides being unattractive, sooty mold interferes with photosynthesis and somewhat slows plant growth. Sooty mold usually weathers away following control of the insect infestation. Ants feed on the honeydew and when ants are observed, plants should be examined closely for these sucking pests.

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