Hairy Chinch Bug – Blissus leucopterus hirtus

Hairy Chinch Bug: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life

Latin name: Blissus leucopterus hirtus

Appearances: The hairy chinch bug, Blissus leucopterus hirtus, is the type of chinch insect harming lawns in Ontario. The adults of this beetle measure just 4 mm in length. The young nymphs hatch out bright red, and as they get closer to maturity, they start to turn brick red to grey or brown. The conspicuous white stripe that runs across the abdomen of the immature nymphs is eventually covered by the increasing wings as the insects get bigger and mature.

Host plants: Chinch bugs consume plants from the grass family, both wild and domesticated, including wheat, rye, barley, oats, and maize. They extract the sap from the developing plants. The plants go to other growing plants to feed when they ripen or become dry.

Territory: America is home to B. leucopterus. The species can be found all over the United States, as well as in Mexico and Central America.

Damage insect caused: The oral parts of chinches are piercing. Turfgrass plants’ stems and crowns are suckers for sap. Chinch insect populations frequently congregate. Consequently, the damage typically starts as isolated dead patches. These dead spots are brown, crooked, sunken patches that have the potential to combine to become bigger dead zones. In hot, dry conditions, chinchillas flourish. The most affected are typically those with sunshine. In Ontario, chinch bugs can feed on any of the popular turfgrass species, though some cultivars may be more vulnerable to harm. However, studies have revealed that turf cultivars with high endophytic fungus content may exhibit some resistance to chinch bug feeding.

Life cycle and habits: The thatch and bases of grass stems on turf, as well as turf with tall bunched grasses, are where the hairy chinch bug adults spend the winter. To find somewhere to spend the winter, the common chinch bug prefers to move to tall bunch grasses in open fields. In the spring, these individuals travel in quest of grain harvests, however they might settle in turf. When the daylight temperature reaches 70 degrees F, the adults of both species start to move around. When they come across males, the ladies’ mate after briefly feeding. The females eventually start to lay eggs by burying them behind the thatch or between the folds of grass blades. Two oviposition episodes per female each generation have been hypothesized to occur.