St. Augustinegrass, Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze, is used as lawn grass throughout the southern United States for its wide adaptation to varying environmental conditions. The southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis Barber, is the plant's most damaging insect pest. Host plant resistance of St. Augustinegrass has been determined in numerous studies using various techniques. However, efficacy of these various procedures in determining St. Augustinegrass resistance to southern chinch bug has not been determined. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of time and methodologies in assesing St. Augustinegrass resistance to southern chinch bugs. Four varieties were tested for resistance using 4 methods (bag, jar, box, tube) and 5 time intervals to measure chinch bug mortality. Overall, survival was greater in whole-plant methods (box and tube) than excised stolon methods (bag and jar). The bag test gave the most erratic results of the 4 methods. The effect of time in determining resistance was also evident. In our tests, it was clear that shorter time intervals in measuring mortality may result in not measuring resistance in a variety. In summary, researchers should carefully consider method, time and temperature as important variables in determining St. Augustinegrass resistance to southern chinch bugs.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2