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Some of my persimmon leaves have tiny sticky droplets at the back of some of their leaves. It is late spring here in Japan and leaves are green. Droplets show up on small leaves with pinkish colors but some larger green leaves have droplets as well, likewise on back side of their leaves. Some sources say these are called honeydews and is the proof that plants are infected, and they are; last year I had a massive pests outbreak and my baby persimmon trees (1 to 2 year-old) were nearly annihilated. I have seen only several of those pests this year (they are only up to one millimeter in length and hard to get rid of) but they will soon multiply unless I do something. So my questions are,

  • What are these droplets?
  • Are there any links to pests (is 'honeydew=infection' theory correct)?

Droplets on the back of persimmon leaves (image on the right). Leaves shown in this photos are fairly small (about 2 cm x 2 cm) and majority of the leaves are larger.

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Honeydew is the sweet secretion of sap sucking insects such as some scale and aphids. Scale does attack persimmon leaves and causes the leaf to yellow and fall prematurely. The honeydew is often farmed by ants, and its presence is indicative of infection. Bees and birds can also collect honeydew.

Leaf guttation is different in that it produces water droplets on the edge of the leaf.

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