Scales are soft and scales are hard.
They are in the orchard and in the yard.
The soft ones are attached to their outer skin,
While the hard ones live free within.
Soft scales produce honeydew,
But hard scales find it impossible to do.
It's just as well it works that way-
Legless, the hard ones can't move away.
Among the bugs that plague our plants,
There are those beloved by ants.
Mealybugs to be specific,
Are among the most prolific.
Mealy wax adorns their bodies;
Soft and plump, the're insect oddies.
No wings have they; they cannot fly,
But in their mealy beds they lie,
Sucking sap from leaf and twig;
Small they are, but damage big.
Nearly all their time is spent
Pumping sap through mouth to vent.
And the stuff they void from anus
Creates a mess that's moist and heinous.
Sticky sweet this buggy poo,
And we call it honeydew.
You or I would never eat it;
Yet the ants with joy do greet it.
Sugar sweet it lifts their mood.
Soon they feed it to their brood.
Trails of ants will soon appear
To partake this formic beer.
They guard their bugs with jealous zeal;
Allow no other to share their meal.
Chase away all wasps and spiders,
To protect their bug providers.
This makes life a bit more quiet
For those bugs, whose only diet
Is the sap that flow, I fear,
In the plants that we hold dear.