Turfgrass-Chinch bug

Blissus spp. (An as yet unidentified species, not B. leucopterus, the destructive species in the Midwest)

Pest description and crop damage Small black bug, 0.18 inch long, with characteristic white marks on wing covers. Nymphs are reddish with white or black markings. Chinch bugs are Hemipterans and as such have piercing, sucking mouth parts. They suck sap from the crown and stem of grasses. Because chinch bugs tend to aggregate, damage often occurs in clumps. Grass becomes yellow and dies. Chinch bug damage generally is from mid- to late summer. Lawns under moderate to severe drought stress often are affected severely, and so chinch bug damage is usually worst after a particularly warm summer. Shaded areas of turf are damaged noticeably less.

Biology and life history The species of chinch bug responsible for damage to turfgrass in the west is not well understood. The hairy chinch bug (B. leucopterus hirtus), which causes damage in northeastern states from Virginia to Minnesota and the southern chinch bug (B. insularis), found from the Carolinas to southern California, are better described. The species found in Oregon is unofficially known as the western chinch bug to differentiate it from these two. The western chinch bug is thought to have one generation per year. They likely overwinter as adults. They become active in spring when temperatures reach 45°F. Eggs are laid, which depending on temperature may hatch in 7 days or up to 6 weeks. The five immature (nymphal) stages are usually completed in 4-6 weeks.

Scouting and thresholds Chinch bugs are small, so are difficult to see unless you find a large population. The best places to look are where turf is damaged, good areas to look are on mounds, south-facing slopes, turf on the south side of buildings or any turf prone to drought stress.

Management-biological control

Fungal endophytes in grass, particularly in perennial ryegrass, reduce hairy chinch bug nymph survival.

Management-cultural control

Chinch bugs are not consistent pests. While conditions suitable for damage occur each year in the PNW, the last major outbreak occurred in 1985. They are not likely to damage vigorous, well-irrigated turfgrass stands. Heavily fertilized turfgrass areas are more susceptible. The most resistant turfgrasses are those that are lightly fertilized and regularly irrigated. Turfgrasses such as perennial ryegrass and fine and tall fescues with high levels of endophytic fungi are resistant to chinch bugs.

Management-chemical control: HOME USE

Do not permit children or pets on the treated turfgrass until it has been watered to wash the insecticide into the turf and the grass is completely dry. Most insecticides are toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or to residues on blooming weeds/flowers in lawns: mow and remove clippings prior to applying insecticides.

  • azadirachtin-Some formulations OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • Beauvaria bassiana-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • bifenthrin
  • carbaryl
  • chlorantraniliprole
  • clothianidin
  • deltamethrin
  • fenvalerate
  • imidacloprid
  • malathion
  • lambda-cyhalothrin
  • permethrin
  • plant essential oils (cedarwood, clove, mint, rosemary, etc.)-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • pyrethrins-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • spinosad-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.

Management-chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE

Do not permit children or pets on the treated turfgrass until it has been watered to wash the insecticide into the turf and the grass is completely dry. Most insecticides are toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or to residues on blooming weeds/ flowers in lawns: mow and remove clippings prior to applying insecticides.

  • azadirachtin (Azasol, Azatin, Azaguard Botanical Insecticide/Nematicide, Gordons Pro T&O Azatrol EC Insecticide, Ornazin 3% EC Botanical Insecticide, Neemix 4.5 IGr)-OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • Beauvaria bassiana GHA (Botanigard ES, Botanigard 22WP)-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • beta-cyfluthrin (Tempo SC Ultra Insecticide, Tempo Ultra GC Insecticide, Tempo Ultra WP Insecticide, Tempo Ultra WSP Insecticide
  • bifenthrin (Talstar GC Granular Insecticide, Talstar PL Granular Insecticide Talstar S, Select Insecticide, Onyx Pro Insecticide, Actishield, multiple label names)
  • carbaryl (Sevin Brand RP4 Carbaryl, Lebanon Sevin 7G Granular Insect Control, Sevin SL Carbaryl Insecticide)
  • chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn Insecticide, Acelepryn G Insecticide)-Suppression of chinch bugs only.
  • chlorpyrifos (Andersons Golf Products Insecticide III, Dursban Pro, Dursban 50W In WSP Speciality Insecticide, Hatchet Insecticide, Nufos 4E Insecticide, Vulcan, Quali-Pro Chlorpyrifos 4E Insecticide, Warhawk, Warhawk Clearform)-Retail sale of products containing chlorpyrifos for residential use ended 12/31/01.
  • clothianidin (Arena 0.25G Insecticide, Arena, 50 WG Insecticide, Arena 50 WDG Insecticide)-Apply as soon as overwintering adults are seen in the spring. Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • clothianidin + bifenthrin (Aloft GC G Insecticide, Aloft GC SC Insecticide, Aloft LC G Insecticide, Aloft LC SC Insecticide)-Restricted use.
  • cyfluthrin (Tempo 20WP Golf Course Insecticide in WSP, Tempo 20 WP Insecticide)
  • cypermethrin (demonMAX, UP-Cyde PRO 2.0 Termiticide/Insecticide)-Highly toxic to fish.
  • cyantraniprole (Exirel WG)
  • deltamethrin (Deltagard G Insecticide, D-Fense SC Insecticide, Suspend SC Insecticide)-For adults.
  • dinotefuran (Zylam)-For suppression only. Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • imidacloprid (Adonis 2F Insect Conc., AmTide Imidacloprid, Avatar PLX Insecticide, Lesco Bandit 0.5G Granular Insecticide, Lesco Bandit 2F Insecticide, Lesco Bandit 75 WSP Insecticide, Malice 0.5G, Malice 2F Insecticide, Malice 75WSP, Mallet 0.5G Insecticide, Mallet 2F Insecticide, Mallet 2F T&O Insecticide Mallet 75 WSP Insecticide, Mallet 7.1% PF Insecticide, Merit 0.5G Insecticide, Merit 2F Insecticide, Merit 75WP Insecticide, Merti 75WSP Insecticide, Midash 2SC T&O, Prokoz Zenith 0.5G Insecticide, Prokoz Zenith 2F Insecticide, Quali-Pro Imidacloprid 0.5G, Quali-Pro Imidacloprid2F T&O, Quali-Pro Imidacloprid 75 WSB Insecticide in WSP)-Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • lambda-cyhalothrin (Scimitar, Demand CS Insecticide, Demand EZ Insecticide, Demand G Insecticide, Cyonara 9.7 Insecticide, Cyzmic CS Controlled Release Insecticide, Exile 9.7, Patrol Insecticide)
  • mint oil, geraniol + oil of rosemary (Keyplex Ecotrol Plus Insecticide/Miticide, Essentria IC3 Insecticide)-OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • prallethrin (ETOC)
  • spinosad A & D (Conserve SC Turf & Ornamental Insect Control)-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • trichlorfon (Dylox 6.2 Granular, Dylox 420 SL Turf & Ornamental)