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Pine Needle Scale

About Pine Needle Scale

Lives on pine and spruce.  Mature scales are tiny insects that are covered by a white, oblong, waxy protective covering that is 2.5 to 3 mm in length.

Scales overwinter as eggs beneath female scales on the needles.  In May, crawlers hatch and migrate to new needles on the tree.  The crawlers then molt to an immobile nymph stage that feeds on the sap and secretes the scale covering.  In the fall the scales mature and lay eggs for a second generation.

By August needles become spotted with white elongated scales.  Damaged needles are discolored and may fall prematurely.  Severely infested trees are less vigorous and occasionally may be killed.

To Control

Thoroughly spray foliage, branches, and trunk with a dormant oil in March or with malathion, diazinon, acephate, or chlorpyrifos in early June.  Control is not effective after the insects have formed their protective waxy scales.