Q: While working in the yard, my husband came across this “puddle” under a tree in an otherwise dry yard. There were some kind of insects in it. What do you think?
A: I think you have a condition called slime flux. It is an infection under the bark which causes the tree sap to ferment and leak from the tree.
Although slime flux usually shows itself a few feet up the trunk of a tree, it can occur at ground level if the trunk has been covered with soil, as seems to be the situation here.
Use a hose to wash away the puddle and insects. The oozing may slowly stop or it may continue for a couple more weeks.
There’s nothing more you can do to treat the tree for it.
If you are worried about the structural health of the tree, visit the Georgia Arborist Association.