You may have noticed these small little black dots that mysteriously appear on your house or car. It turns out, they're pretty gross.

Here in the Hudson Valley, many people have reported a problem with tiny black dots showing up on their siding or, worse yet, all over their car. Some mistakenly believe that they were sprayed with tar on the road. Others have come up with the theory that it's some sort of sap from a tree or even little bugs.

It turns out that those pesky black dots are the work of nature and can be blamed on the mulch around your house.

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If you see those little dots around your property, that's evidence that your home has been "shot" by the artillery fungus. According to Dr. Donald D. Davis from Penn State University, the artillery fungus is a "white, rotting, wood-decay fungus" that lives primarily in wet mulch used for landscaping. The organism is only about 1/10 of an inch and very difficult to detect in the mulch. But you'll certainly know if they're living around your home by the disgusting mess they leave behind.

These fungi get their name from the way they release their spores. These tiny little organisms shoot out spore masses with lots of force. So much so, that the sticky little spores can travel up to 25 feet. When they land, they stick to surfaces with an almost impenetrable goo that can be challenging to remove.

Cars parked near mulch beds can be covered in these black dots, which could damage an automobile's paint and finish. The spores are commonly found on the north-facing side of a home, where mulch will stay moist with minimal sun exposure, creating the perfect environment for the artillery fungus.

There is no sure-fire way for getting rid of the fungus, which can live in almost any mulch bed. And, as far as removing those sticky dots, there's no sure-fire way to remove them without damaging your siding or car.

The only way to reduce the possibility of harboring artillery fungus is to freshen up your flower beds every year with new mulch. Studies have shown that those who put down new product each year have less fungus, but that doesn't mean you will eliminate it entirely.

Have you found a way to remove those pesky black dots from your home or car? Let us know your method in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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