nusiance pests - Knowledgebase Question

Orange, Co
Avatar for sjferk
Question by sjferk
March 11, 2010
For several years now I have been getting these little brown dots all over my house, windows, patio furniture.I can w/ alot of effort pick them off w/ a fingernail but some of the outer dot still stays. I also tried to remove them with a powerwasher which does not always work. Could you tell me what they are. Some say it is because of mulch around the house. Thank you. S

Answer from NGA
March 11, 2010
The spots may actually be spores from members of a group of fungi commonly called the "shotgun" or "artillery" fungi in the genus Sphaerobolus. These fungi colonize dung or other organic matter such as wood mulch. Artillery fungi spores do not normally structurally damage the houses, cars, plants, etc. they cover. Removing the fungi is extremely difficult. Scrubbing and scraping with tools or washing with soap and water aids somewhat in removal; however, the use of tools or harsh chemicals may damage painted or otherwise colored surfaces. We frequently receive questions asking if there is any fungicide registered to treat the mulch to kill this fungus. At this time, there are no fungicides treatment registered for this use.

The appearance of Artillery fungi has been associated with wood mulch (versus bark mulch) and the increased use of wood products in potting media. The use of gravel mulch, stone, pea gravel, and black plastic next to buildings instead of using wood products will help reduce the problem.

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