Pinyon Needle Scale
Scientific Name: Matsucoccus matsumurae
Scientific Type: Scale Insects
Pinyon Needle Scale (Matsucoccus matsumurae) is a pest that affects pinyon pine trees and other coniferous trees in the western United States. It is a type of armored scale insect that feeds on the sap of the tree, leading to needle yellowing, needle drop, and stunted growth. The female scale insect is covered in a hard, protective outer shell and lays eggs underneath it. The eggs hatch into crawler nymphs that spread to new locations on the tree, where they insert their mouthparts into the tree and feed on the sap. Over time, they grow and form their own protective shell, which remains in place as they continue to feed and reproduce. Pinyon needle scale populations can build up quickly, causing significant damage to trees. To manage the pest, it is important to monitor trees regularly and take action when populations begin to build up. This may involve applying insecticides or other management strategies, such as promoting natural predators such as lady beetles and parasitic wasps. Trees that are stressed from other factors, such as drought or overcrowding, may be more susceptible to damage from pinyon needle scale, so it is important to maintain trees in a healthy state to help prevent outbreaks.