Pine Needle Scale – Chionaspis pinifoliae

Pine Needle Scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae)

Common Name: Pine Needle Scale

Latin Name: Chionaspis pinifoliae


In early spring, crimson, scarlet eggs are visible behind the female’s white waxy coating. The female’s waxy cover is about 3 mm long and white, with a yellow tip at the narrower front end. The male’s waxy coating is white and only 2 mm long. Adult males are little winged insects with one pair of wings and very few veins that resemble tiny parasitic wasps. This armoured-scale insect’s crawler stage is reddish.

Host plant:    

In the Northeast, there are several pine (Pinus) species, but predominantly mugo (P. mugo) and Scots (P. sylvestris) pines.


Pine Needle Scale is commonly found in Canada and throughout North America.

Damages caused by Pine Needle Scale:

This species uses its piercing-sucking mouthparts to take plant juices from needles, causing them to become reddish brown. A severe infestation may result in decreased plant health, poor foliage, and the death of affected twigs. The foliage of heavily diseased trees may seem white-washed.

Life history and habits:

This pest spends the winter as a female and eggs behind the female’s waxy coat. Under each scale, up to 40 eggs may be discovered. These crawlers hatch mid-to late May and travel over the needles for a few days before settling down to eat. They secrete a distinctive waxy coating over their body after settling down. By early July, these scales usually are mature. Males emerge, mating with females and dying. In mid-July, the second generation of eggs is deposited, and these scales mature in September.