The western chinch bug, Blissus occiduus Barber (Hemiptera: Blissidae), has emerged as a serious pest of buffalograss, Buchloë dactyloides (Nuttall) Engelmann. In general, neonicotinoid insecticides effectively control a variety of turfgrass insects, particularly phloem-feeding pests. However, because of well documented inconsistencies in control, these compounds are generally not recommended for chinch bugs. This study was designed to document the contact and systemic toxicity of three neonicotinoid insecticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam) to B. occiduus. In contact bioassays, thiamethoxam was ≈20-fold less toxic than clothianidin or imidacloprid to B. occiduus nymphs and three-fold more toxic to adults. In adult systemic bioassays, thiamethoxam was up to five-fold more toxic than clothianidin or imidacloprid. Interestingly, thiamethoxam was significantly more toxic to adults than to nymphs in both contact and systemic bioassays. This was not observed with clothianidin or imidacloprid. Bifenthrin, used for comparative purposes, exhibited 1,844-fold and 122-fold increase in toxicity to nymphs and adults, respectively. These results provide the first documentation of the relative toxicity of these neonicotinoid insecticides to B. occiduus.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1