Egg-The egg, approximately 0.84 x 0.30 mm, is flattened at one end which bears three to five minute projections. The egg gradually changes in color from pale yellow to red before hatching.
Nymph-The wingless nymph is smaller than but similar in shape to the adult. The head and thorax are brown; the eyes are dark red; and the abdomen is pale yellow or light red with a black tip.
Host Plants-Chinch bugs attack many forage, lawn, and wild grasses. The principal crop plants damaged are spring barley, wheat, corn, sorghum, Sudan grass, rye, timothy, and, to a lesser extent, winter barley and oats.
Damage-The chinch bug pierces the plant with its four-jointed beak and sucks out the plant sap. This feeding prevents normal growth and results in dwarfing, lodging, and yield reduction. Severe infestations during early development may cause plants to wilt and die prematurely. Most injury is caused by the six nymphal instars.
Life History-Chinch bugs overwinter as adults in various protected areas, particularly among weeds and grasses near fields. Adults emerge in the spring and deposit eggs singly behind the leaf sheath or in the soil at the base of the small grain crop plant. In a few days, the eggs hatch and the nymphs begin feeding on all parts of the host plant from the roots to the uppermost leaves. The nymphs undergo six developmental stages, the last being the adult stage. Two to three generations occur per year, the later generations migrating to corn and sorghum when small grain crops become dry.
If chinch bugs do invade in economic numbers, they must be controlled chemically. For specific control recommendations, consult the North Carolina State Agricultural Extension Service.