Colorado Pine Needle Scale

branch

Symptoms

  • White specks on needles
  • Large amounts of needle loss
  • Eventual decline and secondary problems like increased IPS beetle activity and woolly aphids
 

These insects can be found on the needles of infested trees and appear as small white specks on the needles. The crawlers emerge from the protective scale coat for a short period each year, the rest of the year the eggs lay dormant under the protective scale. Each female can lay between 30 and 40 eggs. The juveniles feed on the sap of the needles and the bark, which eventual kills the needles, which fall from the tree. With prolonged infestation the tree eventually weakens and can die from the scale or secondary pests. Once treated the tree a healthy tree will recover but due to the slow growth of conifers it may take 4-5 years to outgrow the areas where large amounts of needles have fallen. When there are high levels of infestation the needles may appear like they have a dusting of snow or as if they were spattered white with white paint. We have had great success controlling scale with spraying the trees as well as soil injections with a systemic insecticide with our deep root feeding program. For effective control we recommend at least a two-year treatment program.