Chinch Bugs are tiny black bugs with folded white wings. A chinch bug is about 1/5 of an inch long. Nymphs are born yellow, then turn red with a light-colored band across the abdomen.
Chinch Bugs feed on many lawn grasses, but especially St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. A chinch bug sucks the juices from grass blades and inject a chemical that causes the blades to turn brown and die, creating dried-out, brown patches in the lawn. The patches usually begin in the warmest, driest parts of the lawn, such as along sidewalks, raised areas and driveways. Heavy infestations can completely kill a lawn. They seldom appear in shaded lawns, preferring heat and sun.
Look for Chinch Bugs along the edges of damaged areas, examining the base of grass blades closely or with a magnifying glass. Or, to confirm the pest, cut both ends out of a coffee can. Push the can about 3 inches into the turf along the edges of a damaged area. Fill the can with dish soap and water. The Chinch Bugs should float to the surface after several minutes.
Chinch Bugs are found throughout the United States.
Similar or Related Pests
Southern, Hairy, Common, Buffalograss Chinch Bug
- Plant resistant varieties of turf.