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UC Pest Management Guidelines


Adult southern chinch bugs.

Turfgrass

Southern Chinch Bug

Scientific Name: Blissus insularis

(Reviewed 9/09, updated 9/09)

In this Guideline:


DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST

Southern chinch bug adults are black with whitish wings that fold flat over their body. They are about 0.125 inch (0.3 cm) long. Both long- and short-winged adult forms may be present. Early instar nymphs are bright red but darken to black by the last instar. There are several generations a year, with all life stages present during summer; populations tend to be highest when temperatures are above 90°F. All life stages usually reside in the turfgrass crown and the thatch, but can also be observed at the border between damaged and healthy grass. Big-eyed bugs, which are beneficial predators, are similar in appearance to chinch bugs but their large eyes, which are the widest part of their body, distinguish them from chinch bugs.

SUSCEPTIBLE SPECIES

Although bermudagrass, buffalograss, and zoysiagrass are fed upon, only St. Augustinegrass is seriously damaged in California.

DAMAGE

Chinch bugs are active from April through October, especially in full sun. Southern chinch bugs suck sap from nodes and crown of the turfgrass. Yellowish to brownish patches result.

MANAGEMENT

When southern chinch bug occurs in turfgrass, decrease fertilizer rates and maintain adequate moisture. Usually only St. Augustinegrass is significantly damaged by this pest. Treatment may be required if monitoring indicates a need.

Biological Control
Big-eyed bugs, ants, and the fungal insect pathogen Beauveria bassiana are the most important natural enemies of chinch bugs. Maintaining moist conditions favors development of Beauveria.

Cultural Control
If St. Augustinegrass is desirable, select resistant varieties such as Floralawn, Floratam, or FX-10. Thatch removal is important for eliminating conditions favorable for chinch bug survival. Applying the low end of recommended nitrogen slows chinch bug reproduction. Maintaining adequate moisture will increase the tolerance to chinch bug feeding and promotes beneficial fungi that attach chinch bugs.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions
Use the flotation method or drench test to determine chinch bug presence and population level. For the flotation method, take a 6-inch diameter coffee can, remove top and bottom, and set it 2 to 3 inches into the turfgrass. Fill it with water and wait for 5 to 10 minutes for bugs to float to the surface. The drench test is described in the section MONITORING AND TREATING INSECTS AND MITES. Treat when combined nymph and adult counts average at least 3 per coffee can sample, or 135 per square yard. Mow the lawn and irrigate before treating. After treatment, do not mow or irrigate for at least 24 hours.

Common name Amount/1000 sq ft** Ag Use
R.E.I.+
NonAg Use
R.E.I.+
(trade name)   (hours) (hours)

  Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
The following materials are listed in approximate order of usefulness in an IPM program, taking into account efficacy and impact on natural enemies and the environment. Not all registered materials are listed. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read label of product being used.
 
A. ACEPHATE
  (Orthene Turf, Tree, and 0.5–1 oz 24 until dry
  Ornamental Spray)
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 1B
  COMMENTS: For use on golf courses and sod farms only. Odorous.
 
B. CARBARYL
  (Sevin) 80WSP 3.673 oz 12 until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 1A
 
C. CYFLUTHRIN*
  (Tempo) 20WP 0.176 oz (5 grams) until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3
 
D. DELTAMETHRIN
  (DeltaGard T & O) 5SC 0.2–0.4 fl oz until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3
  COMMENTS: Not for use on sod farms or in commercial seed production. Apply as a broadcast spray in a minimum of 2 gal water/1,000 sq ft. Delay irrigation or mowing for 24 hours after application.
 
E. PERMETHRIN
  (Astro, etc.) 0.4–0.8 fl oz 12 until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3
  COMMENTS: Apply using sufficient water to provide adequate coverage.
 
F. BEAUVARIA BASSIANA
  (BotaniGard, Mycotrol) Label rates 4 4
 
** Apply in 25 gal water/1000sq ft.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at http://www.irac-online.org/.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Agricultural use applies to sod farms and commercial seed production.
Indicates use is not listed on label.

[Precautions]

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Turfgrass
UC ANR Publication 3365-T
Insects and Mites
M. L. Flint, UC IPM Program, UC Davis
M. A. Harivandi, UC Cooperative Extension, Alameda County
H. K. Kaya, Nematology, UC Davis
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insect and Mites:
J. Hartin, UC Cooperative Extension, San Bernardino County
R. S. Cowles, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Windsor, CT
K. Kido, Entomology, UC Riverside
H. S. Costa, Entomology, UC Riverside
D. D. Giraud, UC Cooperative Extension, Humboldt/Del Norte counties

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