Common Chinch Bug – Blissus leucopterus leucopterus

Common Chinch Bug: Appearance, Territory, Damage, and Life Cycle

Latin Name: Blissus Leucopterus

Appearance: In many regions, hairy chinch bugs are a lawn nuisance. They harm grass by pumping poisonous fluids into it while it feeds. Chinch bugs feed throughout summer, but they do the greatest harm in August when the weather is hot and dry. They can do more harm to lawns if the grass is in poor condition due to a lack of moisture or improper fertilizer procedures.

During the first two instars, immature chinch bugs are brilliant orange with a white stripe on the abdomen. The third and fourth instars are a deeper red, while the fifth is black. Adults are dark with gleaming white wings. Adults can have either long, fully grown wings or small, undeveloped wings. As an adult or late instar nymph, you spend the winter.

Hosts Plants: Corn, rice, small grains, sorghum, and bunch grasses and turf grasses.

Territory: Texas

Damage Insect Cause: Chinch bugs inflict significant lawn damage by piercing grass blades with their piercing mouthparts. When the bugs puncture the grass, they suck out the leaf fluids, which dries up the grass blade. While eating, the bugs also produce a poison that can harm the grass.

Life History and Habits: Adults overwinter in safe locations such as weeds and grasses before becoming active in the spring. All developmental stages may survive in southern Texas during mild winters. Females lay their eggs singly under leaf sheaths or in the soil surrounding host plants. Wingless nymphs emerge from eggs in about two weeks and go through five stages before becoming adults in around 30 days. Depending on the temperature, the full life cycle might take 6 weeks or longer. Annually, two to five or more generations can occur.