Chinch Bug

Blissus leucopterus leucopterus

The adult form of the southern chinch bug has a black body measuring about 6 mm in length (Wilson 1929). The wings are white with a black spot on the margins of the forewings. There are two forms ofBlissus insularis: the long-winged form, in which the wings reach almost to the end of the abdomen, and the short-winged form, in which the wings extend about half the length of the abdomen. Studies regarding the length of the adult life span differ significantly, with averages ranging from 10 to 70 days; however, the mean life span in controlled conditions seems to be around 49 days (Kerr 1966, Wilson 1929).

An adult female Blissus insularis deposits over 250 eggs on average in her lifetime (Kerr 1966). She may lay as little as four eggs a day, but she will oviposit for many continuous weeks (Kerr 1966, Wilson 1929). The female chinch bug deposits her eggs on St. Augustinegrass close to where the plant contacts the soil (Wilson 1929). During the summer months, the eggs hatch in six to 13 days, with an average incubation period of 11 days. This process can last a month or more during the winter.

The eggs are small and oval shaped, with a blunt end from which four small projections extend. The eggs begin as a pale white color and turn amber and eventually red before they hatch. The newly emerged nymphs resemble a smaller, wingless adult. The first nymphal instar is yellow. The color will change to red with a pale white band across the abdomen and finally to black with a similar white band as the insect progresses through its five nymphal instars.

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