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Fig. 9-14. Hairy chinch bugs, Blissus leucopterus hirtus, and chinch bug damage (photos: Fred Baxendale).


A complex of chinch bug species, the hairy chinch bug [Blissus leucopterus hirtus (Montandon)] (Fig. 9-14), the southern chinch bug [B. insularis (Barber)], and the common chinch bug [B. leucopterus leucopterus (Say)], is widely distributed in the United States. These bugs are occasional pests of forage and turf tall fescues (Tashiro, 1987). Tall fescue also may be a host to another species, Blissus occiduus (Barber) (Eickhoff et al., 2004). The chinch bugs suck sap from their host grasses and may inject a toxin that leads to discoloration and wilting of the plant.

Mirid bugs may feed also on tall fescue, although there is little information indicating they are of economic importance. Blinn and Yonke (1982) found several species of mirids inhabiting tall fescue pastures in Missouri, of which at least two species were breeding in the pasture. Trigonotylus caelestialium (Kirkaldy) is one species that feeds on a range of grasses and small-grain cereals (Blinn and Yonke, 1986).

There is no published information on the effect of endophyte in tall fescue on chinch bugs. In fine fescues, however, endophyte infection resulted in lower populations of the hairy chinch bug in the field (Saha et al., 1987), whereas another study found no evidence of endophyte-mediated effects on B. leucopterus hirtus or B. occiduus (Anderson et al., 2006).


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