Pinyon Needle Scale- A menace to our beloved Pine trees!


rdyPinyon pine is a beautiful tree, offering incredible structure to a desert. One of the slowest growing trees among the conifers, the Pinyon pine can take up to a hundred years to produce a single cone. The trees yield edible pinyon nuts, which are widely eaten by the Native Americans. Annual harvest of wild pinyon nuts exceeds a million pounds! The wood, especially when burned, has a distinctive fragrance, making it a common wood to burn in chimineas.  The pinyon pine trees are also known to influence the soil in which they grow. Sadly, these amazing trees are under attack by small, black, bean shaped invasive insects known as the Pinyon needle scales. These insects can cause the leaves of Pinyon pine trees to fall off and could also kill the tree!

These tiny, sap-sucking insects kill the needles and severely weaken Pinyon pines in forests. Reduced new growth and stunted needles are common on trees suffering repeated attacks. The needle length is reduced and needles drop prematurely. Heavy infestations frequently kill small trees and predispose weakened larger trees to attack by other insects. Feeding by adult females and nymphs causes the needles to turn yellow and prematurely fall. Most defoliation occurs on older needles, producing a tufted appearance with younger needles primarily persisting on infested trees. Small trees with scales can die in a few years when untreated. However, larger trees suffer more slowly, losing one or a couple branches at a time until they die.

fhdrThis insect is most common and damaging in the United States, particularly in southern Colorado. Historic outbreaks were noted in 1957-1963 in southeast Nevada and southwest Utah, affecting several hundred thousand acres. In 2009, approximately 7% of Nevada’s pinyon forest mapped was affected by this insect. In 2010, nearly 1,161,000 acres of the approximately 9,950,000 acres of pinyon in Nevada were mapped as scale-defoliated.This represents 11.6% of Nevada’s pinyon forest!

The graveness of the issue can be better understood from the following article,

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Pinyon needle scale eggs killing trees in some AZ cities

 Allison Miller

Apr 11, 2011

 PRESCOTT, AZ – Spring is providing us with warmer temperatures and beautiful spring blooms.

However, these warmer temperatures have already caused native insects, called pinyon needle scales to emerge. 

These insects can cause leaves of Pinyon pine trees to fall off and could also kill the tree.

Because of the warm temperatures, the female scales have already laid their eggs on the trees and will hatch in May. 

They can be found over thousands of acres including the Prescott area up the northwest to the Williamson Valley and are also spreading across the Payson area.

They look like noticable clusters of yellow eggs held together in loose, white, cottony webbing found in branch crotches, along the underside of branches, on the trunk, and at the base of the tree.

Bob Celaya, Forest Health Specialist says the eggs need to be spotted and treated as quickly as possible since they can kill small trees within a few years and large trees may take several years to die.

Evidently, unless proper measures are taken, the Pinyon pines may soon become extinct due to the Pinyon needle scale. Infested pine trees can be treated with chemicals and insecticides or by washing off the eggs from the surface of the trees before they get a chance to hatch. However, the efforts and costs associated with these methods, as well as the environmental safety concerns about applying toxic insecticides, make these techniques less feasible on a broad scale in natural areas.

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and foolproof solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated on the tree trunks in lacquer form. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the Pinyon needle scale and any other insect that could harm the pine trees. Thus, using Termirepel™ would effectively ensure that our cherished pines remain safe and protected from this destructive pest!