Agriculture: Avocado Pest Management Guidelines

False Chinch Bug

  • Nysius raphanus
  • Description of the Pest

    The false chinch bug (family Lygaeidae) adult is mostly light to dark gray, elongate, and about 0.12 inch (3 mm) long. Females lay eggs on host plants or in cracks in soil. The mostly pale gray nymphs have inconspicuous reddish to brown abdominal markings. There are from four to seven generations per year. All stages can be present throughout the year.

    During winter and early spring, false chinch bug primarily feeds on foliage, stems, and seeds of wild grasses and cruciferous weeds. When vegetation dries or is cut, or weeds are treated with a herbicide, bugs move in large numbers to feed on virtually any nearby green plants, including irrigated fruit and nut trees, grains, and vegetable crops. These feeding aggregations can be very large.


    False chinch bug occasionally causes severe injury on young trees by sucking sap from shoots and young stems. Infested shoots wither and die suddenly after attack, which typically occurs in May and June. Economic damage normally occurs in groves away from the coast only on young trees in border rows adjacent to uncultivated areas or grasslands. Otherwise healthy mature trees tolerate bug feeding.


    Monitor during late winter and early spring if young avocado trees are growing inland near unmanaged areas most susceptible to false chinch bug migrations. Before winter weeds dry or are cut, look for bugs on fences and weedy areas adjacent to young trees.

    If false chinch bugs are common, consider treating weedy borders to kill bugs before they migrate. Only border trees may need treatment.

    Common name Amount per acre REI‡ PHI‡
    (Example trade name) (hours) (days)
    Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide's properties and application timing. Always read the label of the product being used.
      (Malathion 8) 4.7 pt 48 7
      COMMENTS: Apply as a foliar spray. Use of this material will disrupt biological control of other pests such as scales, thrips, mites, and whiteflies. Highly toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
    Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
    1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee).
    Text Updated: 09/16
    Treatment Table Updated: 09/16