I recently noticed the internal needles on my cedar (pretty sure they're cedar) trees are turning brown and falling off. There's some sort of insect all over them too that looks like they're making nests out of spit. Are the bugs the cause of my trees' poor health? If so, what are they and how do I get rid of them?

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Not to worry, this guy does suck on your tree but they rarely do any damage. It is a Spittlebug or Froghopper. Each of those globs is one insect, a nymph that manages to hide himself in...excrement by bubbling a viscous liquid. This is great protection from predators and the elements.

Easy to control, just spray with a hard stream of water. Your tree should be fine unless they are in huge numbers and you can't spray high enough. I've never seen an infestation of these guys like that but if they are maybe a call to a tree company (they have the insurance to deal with trees and heights). The strongest pesticide I'd allow would be soapy water or neem and make sure they have their current pesticide applicator license!

Otherwise, no big deal! Good news, huh!

  • As for the dying foliage, I'd need to see more of the tree. It is totally normal for internal foliage to brown and die. Send a picture of the whole tree..
    – stormy
    Jun 1 '14 at 1:31

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