Arborist b 480-969-8808Pine Needle Scale


Heavy infestation of pine needle scale (Hemiptera) on mugo pine (Pinus mugo)



Pine needle scale, Chionaspis pinifoliae, is a common insect pest of pines in Missouri. It is most frequently found on Mugo, Scotch (Scots), and Ponderosa pine but will also infest Austrian, red, or white pine and most spruces. Light infestations often go unnoticed and cause little damage. As the population increases, needles become covered with the white scale insects, which suck juices from the needles. A heavy infestation can cause whole branches to die, or in severe cases, kill the plants.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The scales are whitish and only 1/10 of an inch long with a yellow spot at one end. As numbers increase, the whole needle may be covered with scale. When pried off, the scales are hollow, and depending on the time of year, they may contain eggs or feeding insects.

Life Cycle

Reddish-colored eggs overwinter beneath the female scales. In May to June, young, called nymphs hatch and the migrate to new locations by crawling or being blown by the wind. The nymphs settle, begin feeding, and produce a waxy, scale covering. During late July and early August, mating takes place, and eggs are laid under the scale for next year's generation. (In some locations, a second generation may occur in early fall.)

More images:


White flecks are pine needle scale (Hemiptera) on this Austrian pine (Pinus nigra); banding on the needles and tip dieback is caused by dothistroma bligh




Pine needle scale (Hemiptera) on Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)



Close-up of pine needle scale (Hemiptera) on Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)





We currently serve - MesaGilbert - Tempe - Chandler - Queen Creek - ScottsdaleParadise Valley - East Phoenix Arizona.