Phenology, natural enemies, and efficacy of horticultural oil for control of Chionaspis heterophyllae (Homoptera: Diaspididae) on Christmas tree plantations

J Econ Entomol. 2005 Oct;98(5):1603-13. doi: 10.1093/jee/98.5.1603.


Pine needle scale, Chionaspis pinifoliae (Fitch), and Chionaspis heterophyllae Cooley are important pests of Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris L., and other conifers in much of North America. On Christmas tree plantations, these insects are typically controlled by spraying broad-spectrum insecticides when the vulnerable immature stages are present. However, effective control of bivoltine populations can be difficult to achieve due to asynchronous hatch and development of the second generation. Our objectives were to 1) determine the phenology of the second generation of C. heterophyllae in Michigan; 2) characterize the natural enemy complex; and 3) assess the effectiveness of horticultural oil for control of C. heterophyllae on P. sylvestris Christmas tree plantations. We monitored scale populations in three counties in lower Michigan for 3 yr. Scale phenology was consistently associated with cumulative degree-days base 10 degrees C (DD(10 degrees C)). Second-generation egg hatch began at approximately 1230-1300 DD(10 degrees C), and continued for approximately 3 wk. The peak of the second instar coincided with 1500-1600 DD(10 degrees C). Common predators included the coccinellids Chilocorus stigma (Say) and Microweisia misella (LeConte). On average, 70% of the C. heterophyllae population in unsprayed fields was killed by predators in 1999. Two endoparasitic wasps, Encarsia bella Gahan and Marietta mexicana Howard (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae), also were recovered. In 2000 and 2001, we applied a highly refined horticultural spray oil with a backpack mist blower at 1500-1600 DD(10 degrees). Scale mortality on trees treated with oil ranged from 66 to 80% and was similar to control achieved using conventional insecticides in both years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hemiptera / growth & development
  • Hemiptera / physiology*
  • Insect Control / methods*
  • Insecticides*
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Pinus sylvestris* / growth & development
  • Plant Oils*


  • Insecticides
  • Plant Oils