WSU Extension


Caption: Pine needle scale
Photo by: K. Grey
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Pine : Pine needle scale
(revision date: 2/14/2019)

Pine needle scales are elongate, pure white scales which feed on the needles. Heavily infested trees may appear "flocked". Infested needles turn yellow, then brown. Twigs and branches may be killed. Repeated infestations may eventually kill trees. Pine needle scales are often found with the black pineleaf scale, which is gray to black instead of white. Pine needle scale is a serious pest of ornamental pines and may also infest spruces and Douglas fir.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Provide proper culture for trees. Healthy plants tolerate insect feeding more easily.
  • Hand-wipe to control minor infestations on small trees.
  • Prune and destroy heavily infested branches, when possible.
  • Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill ladybird beetles, parasitic wasps, and other natural controls.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

The following must be applied to the crawler stage in early spring to get good control. Acephate and cyfluthrin are particularly dangerous to honeybees. Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Bonide Systemic Insect Control
    Active ingredient: acephate  |  EPA reg no: 239-2461-4
  • R-T-U Year-Round Spray Oil
    Active ingredient: oil/pet distillate  |  EPA reg no: 6218-78
  • Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap Conc II [Organic]
    Active ingredient: potassium laurate  |  EPA reg no: 42697-60
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Pine needle scale
Photo by: K. Grey
Caption: Pine needle scale
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli