Miridae of the genera Labops and Irbisia, collectively referred to as “black grass bugs,” can cause significant damage to wheatgrasses (Poaceae) of several genera on western North American rangeland. Another mirid in the same area, Capsus cinctus (Kolenati), causes damage to bluegrass (Poa spp.). Previous studies suggest that grazing management may reduce mirid populations on rangeland by eliminating preferred oviposition sites and reducing accumulations of litter that provide diurnal refuges for nymphs. We tested the hypothesis that grazing reduces mirid populations, along with those of Reduviidae, during a controlled grazing experiment. Densities of mirids and reduviids declined with increasing intensity of grazing, even though grazing occurred after the peak of mirid abundance each year. This suggests that declines in hemipteran densities resulted from grazing that occurred during previous years, perhaps because the most heavily grazed plots had the least plant litter. The results further confirm that grazing has the potential to control black grass bug populations, although the benefits could be potentially offset by negative impacts on beneficial insects such as reduviids.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2