Pine: Pine needle scale

categories: Conifers Ornamentals Pine Pine Insects

revision date: 2024-06-05 08:29

Close up of white scales on a pine needle.
Pine needle scale
Photo by: K. Grey


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

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • 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.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • 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.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.

Additional Image