Damaging pinyon needle scale eggs have already hatched in the southeast part of Payson, Trailwood, Beaver Valley Estates and Round Valley.
The immature scale “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 which initiates the damage to pinyons every year. The crawlers appear as tiny black dots stuck to the needles, says Bob Celaya, state forest health specialist.
It is too late to remove the egg masses which were laid by the female scales in March-April. And even if you have already removed all of the eggs you could find, double check the needles on the ends of the branches for the tiny black dots, indicating eggs you may have missed, he said.
The scale crawlers on the needles can be chemically treated using an EPA-approved insecticide. The insecticide label should state that the chemical is for treatment of “scale crawlers.” And trees should be sprayed as soon as possible before the scale insect develops a thicker protective cover.
Take precautions using insecticide. Insecticides used improperly can be injurious to humans, animals and plants. Follow directions and heed all precautions on the labels. Contact a qualified and licensed professional for the proper treatment of your tree(s).
Unless there are local water restrictions, consider slow, deep, and infrequent watering of the infested pinyons around your home, starting in June, 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: http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az1298.pdf.
For further information about this native 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.