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I was walking in the woods behind my house yesterday. It had rained in the morning but was pretty dry when I went out. I put my hand up to a large pine tree (without touching it) and to my surprise, it "spit" something out at me. It looked like lots of small bubbles. I repeated this with a stick (moving it close to the tree) and the same thing happened. Lots of tiny bubble-looking things.

Do you have any idea what this could have been?

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I don't know where in the world you are, but if you're in USA, this would be called spittlebug or pine tree spittlebug. It's actually the nymphs of froghoppers - they feed on the sap of the tree and emit what looks like bubbly spit, which covers their bodies and keeps them invisible and cool. I can't explain why it happened when you got near the tree - not sure it would be a deliberate act on the part of the froghopper nymph! Next time you're there, wipe off the spittle and see if you can see the nymph... also check that the spittle isn't sticky - if it is, it's not spittlebug.

  • Thank you for the response. I am indeed in the US (on Cape Cod). I will take a closer look next time I notice it. – kguay Mar 27 '14 at 14:33

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