Giant Pine Scale

Four images of Giant Pine Scale - top left image shows the pest growing on a tree trunk, top right shows and adult Giant Pine Scale, Bottom left shows pest growing on a tree branch, Bottom right show an image of Giant Pine Scale eggs

Heavily infested trees can dry up and die from the insects feeding on the tree's sap.

Current situation in Victoria

Giant pine scale is a tiny scale insect that lives by sucking the sap of pine, fir and spruce trees. Confirmed in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs for the first time in 2014, giant pine scale presents a new Biosecurity threat to softwood plantation industries. Heavily infested trees can dry up and die from the insects feeding on the tree’s sap, impacting pine trees in parks, softwood plantations and residential properties if not properly managed.

There are currently no effective chemical treatment options available for giant pine scale.

What to look for

Giant pine scale infested trees can be easily recognised by the white, cotton wool-like wax the insect produces that looks like snow on the tree’s trunks and branches. While the insect typically prefers the lower part of the tree (i.e. trunk), it can also be found on branches and exposed roots.

What to do if you see it

If you find giant pine scale on a pine, spruce or fir tree in the ACT report it to:

  • Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881
  • Email photos of the suspected pest, together with a contact phone number and the pest’s location to ACTBiosecurity@act.gov.au (Avoid collecting samples)

Stop the spread

People can also unintentionally spread Giant pine scale when moving infested plant material (e.g. branches, mulch and logs), using contaminated gardening equipment and carrying it on clothing, machinery and cars. It is important to practise good plant and equipment hygiene to avoid spreading Giant pine scale.

Further information