University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers

Insect Damage

Pine Needle Scale
Phenacaspis pinifoliae

2 (1 = rare 5 = annual)
4 (1 = very little damage 5 = plants killed)
Pine needle scale attacks mugo, Scots, Austrian and red pines. Landscape trees, Christmas trees and trees along dusty roads are the most seriously affected trees.

Plants Affected
As the number of insects increase, the tree often looks like it has been "flocked" in the summer. In addition, the amount of damage increases. Left alone, the insects will kill the tree.

Life Cycle
Pine needle scale overwinters as reddish eggs under the dead female body cover. Eggs hatch during candle growth. The crawlers move onto the new needles on the same tree or they may be carried or blown onto another tree. In the midwest, one life cycle occurs per year. In other parts of the country, two life cycles may occur in one growing season.

Correct timing with insecticidal sprays can eliminate this insect. Because it overwinters as eggs, dormant oil spray does not provide effective control.

Related Resources
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic