Big-eyed bugs have been well documented as predators on a diverse group of arthropod prey in turfgrasses; however, little is known about the big-eyed bug species associated with buffalograss, or their feeding habits relative to the western chinch bug, Blissus occiduus Barber. This research documented that Geocoris uliginosus (Say) was the predominant big-eyed bug species associated with buffalograss, obtained information on its feeding behavior, and characterized predation rates. Laboratory studies documented G. uliginosus, as a predator of B. occiduus. While all life stages of B. occiduus were attacked by G. uliginosus, predation was greater on 1st through 4th instars than on 5th instars or adults. Low 5th instar and adult chinch bug mortality was likely the result of their larger biomass, as well as their superior size and strength compared to younger (1st through 4th instar) chinch bugs. The mean number of 1st through 3rd instar chinch bugs consumed by G. uliginosus at each evaluation period was higher than for 5th instar or adult chinch bugs. Based on this research, chinch bug management decisions should take into consideration big-eyed bug densities, especially when the majority of B. occiduus are early (1st–2nd) instars.
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Vol. 81 • No. 4