Chionaspis (Phenacaspis) pinifoliae (Diaspididae)

pine needle scale


Chionaspis pinifoliae, the pine needle scale: scales infesting pine needles. A white scale shaped like an oyster shell. Adult female scale remains fixed in the feeding location on needles. Adult male develops wings and emerges from the scale to fly about and seek a mate.


Eggs laid in the fall, overwinter under the female scale and hatch in the spring. One generation annually. Locomotion in scale insects is almost entirely confined to the very young "crawlers." These young scales are minute and generally yellow in colour. After hatching from the eggs (beneath scales), or leaving the female, young "crawlers" move over the needles. After a few days "crawlers" affix themselves in a favourable position and feed by sucking plant juices. Young crawlers found May-July.


Infestation of Chionaspis pinifoliae. When trees are stressed or show signs of decadence they can become heavily infested by these scales. Leaves, twigs, branches even entire trees may be killed.

Principal Hosts:

In the West this scale attacks all species of pine and sometimes Douglas-fir, spruce, and cedar, usually on planting stock.

Economic Importance:

Can be serious in nurseries and is a common pest of ornamental trees.

References and Links:

FC: 115.

Pine needle scale (PennState Extension, USA)

Additional Images:

heavily infested shoot