Phil Busey Agronomy
Consulting Inc.


Chinch Bugs in St. Augustinegrass

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Southern chinch bugs running in St. Augustinegrass.


Chinch bugs were active in a St. Augustinegrass lawn area, running up and down the leaf blades. Video taken in Davie, Broward County, Florida, in July 2013. The southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis, is an insect in the order Hemiptera, and this species feeds almost exclusively on St. Augustinegrass. Other species of Blissus feed on other turfgrasses and other grass crops. In St. Augustinegrass, chinch bug populations may be present but not damaging until an outbreak phase occurs with typically 10-50 or more adult chinch bugs per square foot. A timed water flotation test can determine the presence of chinch bugs and their density in turfgrass, however, usually just parting the grass with the hands will reveal chinch bugs if they are present in damaging numbers. In the case of the chinch bugs in the video, they are so numerous and active that in merely looking at the turfgrass from a kneeling position it looks like there is activity everywhere.

Scientific Papers on the Southern Chinch Bug:

Busey, P. 1990. Polyploid Stenotaphrum germplasm: Resistance to the polyploid damaging population southern chinch bug. Crop Sci. 30:588-593.

Busey, P. 1990. Inheritance of host adaptation in the southern chinch bug (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 83:563-567.

Busey, P. 1995. Field and laboratory resistance of St. Augustinegrass germplasm to the southern chinch bug. HortScience 30:1253-1255.

Busey, P. and B. J. Center. 1987. Southern chinch bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) overcomes resistance in St. Augustinegrass. J. Econ. Entomol. 80:608-611.

Busey, P. and G. H. Snyder. 1993. Population outbreak of the southern chinch bug is regulated by fertilization. Int. Turfgrass Soc. J. 7:353-357.

Busey, P. and E. I. Zaenker. 1992. Resistance bioassay from southern chinch bug (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) excreta. J. Econ. Entomol. 85:2032-2038.

Reinert, J. A., P. Busey, and F. G. Bilz. 1986. Old World St. Augustinegrasses resistant to the southern chinch bug (Heteroptera:Lygaeidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 79:1073-1075.

Reinert, J. A., R. W. Toler, B. D. Bruton, and P. Busey. 1981. Retention of resistance by mutants of 'Floratam' St. Augustinegrass to the southern chinch bug and St. Augustine decline. Crop Sci. 21:464-466.Busey, P. 1995. Genetic diversity and vulnerability of St. Augustinegrass. Crop Sci. 35:322-327.