Pinyon needle scale eggs have already hatched in southeast Payson and Trailwood, Beaver Valley Estates and Round Valley. The immature scales “crawlers” have emerged from the egg state and have attached themselves to the needles on the ends of the branches.
This is the stage of the insect that initiates the damage to pinyons every year. The crawlers appear as tiny dots on the needles at the ends of the branches.
It is too late to remove the egg masses which were laid on the pinyons by the female scales in March and April. The crawlers can be chemically treated using an EPA-approved insecticide. The insecticide label should state that the chemical is for treatment of “scale crawlers.” Trees should be treated as soon as possible before the scale insect develops a thicker protective cover.
Experts warn homeowners that insecticides used improperly can be injurious to humans, animals and plants. Follow directions and heed all precautions on the labels.
Unless there are local water restrictions, consider slow, deep, and infrequent watering of the infested pinyons around your home, starting now, with a properly installed and maintained drip system, or with a soaker hose placed around the dripline of the tree. Continue watering until the “monsoon” rains are well established.
Also refer to the Cooperative Extension watering brochure at:
For further information about this insect, or other forest health concerns in the Payson area, contact Bob Celaya, forest health specialist, Office of the State Forester, at (602) 771-1415 or the Payson field office at (928) 474-2689.