Pest/Problem Causing Deformed Buds on Pines

Hello everyone,
I’m trying to identify the pest/problem that is causing some odd bud growth on my Mugo and Scots pines. It started last year and is affecting all of my plants of those two species. JBP, JRP, and other pines/conifers don’t seem to be affected at all. Not every bud is deformed and many new candles are healthy. Plants are affected to varying degrees. I have a theory as to what’s causing it but would like to see what others think. Thank you in advance for your time and input. Here are some pictures:

It looks like the formation of cones.

Thanks for your feedback. In case you’re interested I’ve also had someone tell me it was caused by mites. I will update as things progress.

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It does not look like cone formation to me. Most of the cone starts I have seen are look like little tiny cones and are purple or similar color.

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An early case of Eriophyid mites? One of our P. sylvestris had the same for a few years, now under control due to removal of malformed shoots and some chemical control.

I think these are pollen cones, not seed cones.

The top of the last photo looks like a hormone retarded bud. The round forms below it look like pollen formation. I DO see fine sheaths at each bulb (cone) base (?). Go look at your local landscape adult mugus…? Is your tree old enough to develop pollen cones…15yo?
@BonsaiBean it has been a week. Post another photo of the SAME(—) buds. The new growth difference will help in IDing a difference…
Eriophyid mites look like pretty mean little dudes… I would treat with a systemic…

Thanks to everyone for the responses. Been busy but I’ll try to get some more pictures. Not sure on the age of the Mugo. It was a nursery buy roughly 5 years ago. I have been treating with systemic (Bayer 3 in 1) and also with spray. Both contain imidacloprid which is supposed to be effective against these mites.

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I noticed one little secondary bud like that on my JWP this morning. I will follow this thread. Thanks Cara