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chinch bug

chinch bug, small North American bug, Blissus leucopterus, of the seed bug family. It feeds on small grains, corn, and other grasses, sucking the plant juices and doing much damage to crops, particularly in the Midwest. The adults, about 1/8 in. (3.5 mm) long, have black bodies with black and white wings, red legs, and red spots at the bases of the antennae. Both long- and short-winged forms occur. There are two generations a year. The adults overwinter in sheltered places, emerging in spring to feed on early maturing grains, such as wheat and oats. They lay their eggs on the bases of the grasses or in the ground, and the nymphs, or larvae (see insect), emerge in about a week. Red when they emerge, the nymphs mature in five stages, turning gray or brown. They feed on the same grasses as their parents. When they reach the adult stage, in about six weeks, they migrate on foot to later-maturing grains, such as corn, which are still tender; there they lay the eggs that give rise to the second generation of the season. The bedbug, a member of a different bug family, is sometimes called chinch in the South. Chinch bugs are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Hemiptera, family Lygaeidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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