The Q&A Archives: Why are there tiny black balls all over my deck?

Question: The deck in the back of my house has been covered with tiny black balls, no bigger than half a pea, for about the past two weeks now. The only thing I could think of is the fact that my deck is shaded by a large maple tree, and either the tiny tiny black dots are waste from the tree itself, such as seed particles off those little hellicopter pods that fall from the trees, or that it is inch worm waste. IT isn't causing any sort of problem, and the tree is completely healthy, it's just my curiosity. Thanks for your time.

Answer: I don't think that would be the maple seeds, they generally stay within the samara or helicopter and are not round. If there are caterpillars in the tree, then that could explain it, yes. However, that sounds a bit large to be caterpillar waste -- generally this is dark but smaller than the head of a match. Perhaps there is a small animal running on the deck at night? Or, perhaps they are seeds from some other plant that is being eaten by birds or squirrels in the tree? I'm sorry I can't be more specific for you.

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