Beech scale

Control of species of type Insect
  • Order: Homoptera
  • Family: Eriococcidae
  • Latin: Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger
  • English: Beech scale
  • French: Cochenille du hêtre
  • Synonym(s): Cryptococcus fagi Baerensprung , cryptococcus fagi Douglas


Formerly Kermès du hêtre (former French name). The beech scale, in association with Neonectria faginata, causes the beech bark disease.


1. Mechanical and silvicultural

There is no practical control method for beech scale infestations in natural forests. Extremely cold temperatures below -30°C will kill beech scale insects not protected by the snow cover. Control measures can be implemented periodically for scale insects on ornamental trees. For instance, to prevent the dissemination of scales, a strong jet of water or a soft brush can be used to remove the insects from the bark (CCDMD 2009).

2. Chemical

An organophosphate insecticide should be sprayed on the bole and main branches in September or October to kill the crawler stage of the beech scale (Abgrall and Sautrenon 1991; Houston and O'Brien 1983) and lime sulphur can be applied as a spray in the spring (Rose and Lindquist 1982). These are effective treatments that have been used for many years on individual trees in Europe and North America.Products registered in Canada for the control of scales in general, on ornamental trees, contain the following active ingredients: malathion or calcium polysulphide.

There are many different chemical pest control products available. They may be toxic to plants, animals, humans or the environment in general. A number of these products pose potentially lethal risks to humans. To protect human health and the environment from pesticide-related risks, Canada adopted the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA). The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA; is responsible for administering the Act. A pesticide product label indicates the class designation (domestic, commercial, agricultural), the potential risks to human health and the environment, and the conditions and restrictions pertaining to product use. Compliance with the label directions and restrictions is mandatory. The provinces may also regulate the use of pesticides within their respective territory. For more information on these products, contact PMRA at the following E-mail address:

3. Biological

A ladybird beetle, Chilocorus stigma, feeds on the beech scale (Houston and O'Brien 1983). In 1986, Baylac studied the potential of using a predator named Lestodiplosis sp. In spite of the hopes that Houston (1983) had for biological control, there appear to be no viable biocontrol options for the beech scale at present. Advances in biological control will require that research be directed at predators and parasites that occur in the regions of origin of beech scale, that is, in northern Greece and Iran, in the Caucasus and in the watershed of the Black Sea (Gwiazdowski 2006). Control trials with the entomopathogène Lecanicium muscarinum have demonstrated its pathogenicity against the beech scale. However, other researches are needed before it can be used in the natural environment Laflamme et al. 2009).

4. Genetic resistance

Beech trees that appear to have some resistance have been identified in Nova Scotia (Mielke et al. [ND]). However, less than 1% of beech harbour resistance to beech bark disease (Houston 1983, 2005). These trees appear to have lower nitrogen concentrations in their bark.

5. Stages in an integrated disease management program

The beech scale plays a precursor role in beech bark disease. According to Mielke et al. (ND), silviculturists should implement the following measures in response to beech scale invasion:

  1. Reduce the proportion of beech in the stand by first removing older trees with rough bark.
  2. When Neonectria faginata attacks begin, continue to reduce the proportion of beech in the stand and cut down all infected beech. Use herbicides to treat root sprouts produced by infected trees, but retain beech trees that show little or no damage.
  3. As the killing front advances, remove dead and dying beech and treat root sprouts with herbicides.
  4. Monitor stand health and retain beech that are resistant; they may represent less than 1% of the stand.
  5. Scale-infested wood should not be moved to uninfested areas (McCullough et al. 2000).

This is essentially a salvage cutting approach with the ultimate goal of increasing the proportion of disease-resistant beech (Houston 2005).



  1. Abgrall, J.F. et Soutrenon, A. 1991 La forêt et ses ennemis, 3ième édition. CEMAGREF Grenoble.399p.
  2. Baylac, M. 1986. "Observations on the biology and ecology of Lestodiplosis sp. (Dipt. Cecidomyiidae), a predator on the beech scale Cryptococcus fagi (Hom. Coccoidea). / Observations sur la biologie et l'écologie de Lestodiplosis sp. (Dipt. Cecidomyiidae), prédateur de la cochenille du hêtre Cryptococcus fagi (Hom. Coccoidea). " Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 22, no. 3 (1986): 375-386. CAB Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed February 3, 2009).
  3. CCDMD 2009. Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique. Maladies des arbres du Québec. consulté le 3 février 2009.
  4. Gwiazdowski, Rodger A., Van Driesche, Roy G., Desnoyers, Adrienne, Lyon, Suzanne, Wu, San-an, Kamata, Naotoa, Normark, Benjamin B. 2006."Possible geographic origin of beech scale, Cryptococcus fagisuga (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae), an invasive pest in North America." Biological Control 39, no. 1 : 9-18.
  5. Houston, D. R. 1983. "Developments in biological control of beech bark disease." 10th International Congress of Plant Protection 1983. Volume 3. Proceedings of a conference held at Brighton, England, 20-25 November, 1983. Plant protection for human welfare: 1035-1041. CAB Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed February 3, 2009).
  6. Houston, Dave R., O’Brien, James T. 1983. Beech Bark Disease. Forest Insect &Disease Leaflet 75. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
  7. Houston, David R. 2005 Beech Bark Disease : 1934 to 2004 : What’s new since Ehrlich. In Evans, Celia A., Lucas, Jennifer A. and Twery, Mark J. 2005. Beech Bark Disease: Proceedings of the Beech Bark Disease Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-331. Newtown Square PA, US. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Northern Research Station p.2-13.
  8. Laflamme, G., S. Boudreault, R. Lavallee, M. Blais and J.-Y. Blanchette. 2009. Biological control trials of beech bark disease under laboratory conditions. SDU Faculty of Forestry Journal. 194-199.
  9. McCullough, Deborah G., Heyd, Robert, and O'Brien, Joseph G. 2000. Biology and Management of Beech Bark Disease Michigan’s Newest Exotic Forest Pest. Michigan State University Extension consulté le 3 février 2009
  10. Mielke, Mamfred E., Houston, David R., and Bullard, Allan T. (SD) Beech Bark Disease Management Alternatives. consulté le 3 février 2009
  11. Rose, A.H. et Lindquist, O.H.1982. Insectes des feuillus de l’est du Canada. Rapport technique 29 F. Centre de recherches forestières des Grands Lacs. Ministère de l’Environnement, Service canadien des forêts. Ottawa p.256


Jacques Tremblay et Pierre DesRochers



Robert Lavallée et Jean Bérubé

  • Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger

    Trunk covered with white woolly substance secreted by scales

  • Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger

    Trunk covered with white woolly substance

  • Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger

    Scales covered with white woolly substance secreted by themselves

  • Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger

    Scales covered with white woolly substance in bark crevices

  • Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger

    Scales in bark crevice

  • Cryptococcus fagisuga Lindinger

    Scales in bark crevice

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