University of Florida

Integrated Control of the Southern Chinch Bug in St. Augustinegrass

Situation or Issue Identification

The southern chinch bug has long been recognized as a serious pest of St. Augustinegrass in Florida. The annual cost of chinch bug control and losses in Florida has been estimated at $5 million. It is a very adaptable pest which has shown the capability to become resistant to insecticides and overcome plant resistance.

Rationale for Research Support Resources

In recent years, Floratam, which is the major St. Augustinegrass in Florida, has been losing its resistance to chinch bugs. Additional research is needed on various controls such as host plant resistance, biological control, cultural control, and effective use of insecticides. The overuse of insecticides will be our only future option if this research is not conducted.

Measurable or Potential Impact in Terms of Social, Economic, and/or Environmental Factors Resulting from Expenditure of Research Support Funds

Integrated control of chinch bugs in St. Augustinegrass will yield the following benefits: First, reduced insecticidal spraying will save money for homeowners. Second, reduced insecticidal spraying will reduce environmental contamination with pesticides. Third, a reduction in spraying will reduce hazard to humans of exposure to insecticides. Fourth, reduced insecticidal spraying will reduce the chance of future development of insecticide resistance in chinch bugs.

Collaborating Organizations/Agencies & Teaching/Research/Extension Partnerships

Much of the chinch bug research is being done with Dr. Russell Nagata who is a plant breeder with the University of Florida.

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Southern Chinch Bug

Determining chinch bug infestation