Pine Needle Scale Control Window Approaching


Pine needle scale is an armored scale that is found across the United States but especially in the eastern half of the country. Pine needle scale appears as conspicuous white specks on the needles. Scales feed by sucking sap from needles causing them to yellow and eventually brown. Heavy infestations can kill twigs, branches and even entire trees.
Though both female and males are white, the female is largerĀ  (1/8-inch long) and wider at one end with the narrow end sporting a yellow or orange cap. Males are 1/32-inch long and narrow. Crawlers are bright red to purple to brown.
Pine needle scale overwinters as eggs underneath female covers. Each female produces about 100 eggs. There are two generations per year in Kansas with crawlers appearing in May to early June and again in mid- to late-July. So now is the time to start looking for the second-generation crawlers. Use a hand lens to look for the crawlers. Crawlers may be easier to see by wrapping a group of needles with one of the following:
– double sticky tape
– white tape smeared with petroleum jelly
– colored electrical tape smeared with petroleum jelly.
Choose a color that allows the crawlers to show up. Spray when the crawlers start showing up on the tape.
Effective insecticides include but are not limited to acephate (Acephate, Orthene), cyfluthrin (Tempo, BioAdvanced Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray), and permethrin (38 Plus Turf, Termite & Ornamental Insect Spray; Eight Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Concentrate or Garden and Farm Insect Spray). Remember, insecticides must be applied to crawlers soon after they emerge. Once the scale has settled down and formed its waxy cover, insecticides are ineffective.


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