Pine tortoise scale feeding results in yellowing of needles, stunted needle growth, and under extensive populations can result in death of pines. Young pine trees, in general, are more susceptible to pine tortoise scale than older (mature) trees. In addition, foliage closer to the ground tends to support higher populations of pine tortoise scale than foliage higher in the tree canopy. Pine tortoise scale also produces copious amounts of honeydew, a clear sticky liquid that serves as a growing medium for black sooty mold. Entire pine trees may appear black from black sooty mold under heavy infestations of pine tortoise scale.
A forceful water spray applied twice per week will quickly dislodge/remove the crawlers and mature females from infested pine trees. Insecticides that are useful in suppressing populations of pine tortoise scale crawlers include: acephate (Orthene, Bonide Systemic Insect Control), acetamiprid (TriStar), bifenthrin (Talstar, Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin), cyfluthrin (Tempo, Bayer Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray), dinotefuran (Safari), imidacloprid (Merit), insecticidal soap (potassium salts of fatty acids), and horticultural oils (petroleum, mineral or neem-based). These insecticides must be applied when crawlers are active…which is RIGHT NOW…in order to obtain maximum suppression of pine tortoise scale populations and alleviate future problems. (Raymond Cloyd)