Chinch bugs are easy to recognize, but hard to see. They're about ⅕" long with black bodies and white wings folded across their backs. It takes chinch bugs about four to six weeks to mature. They start out yellow, then soon turn red as they grow. They have a telltale white stripe across their bodies.
Chinch bugs. To them, your lawn is dinner.
You do everything right. You water your lawn regularly. You feed it when you're supposed to. Yet, here and there, you have what looks like drought damage. If you live in the south and have St. Augustinegrass or zoysiagrass, you could be entertaining a whole troop of chinch bugs. These nasty little critters suck your grass blades dry. Then they inject a poison that kills them. They can kill patches or your entire lawn. But you can get even.
Recognize a Chinch Bug
Chinch bugs don't exactly tap you on the shoulder and introduce themselves. You have to look for them. If you don't see them when you get down on your hands and knees in your lawn, try the tin-can method. Cut out both ends of a tin can, making a tube. Push one end of your tube into the ground. Then pour water into the can and keep it filled for 10 minutes. If you have chinch bugs, they'll start floating up to the surface. You may also see chinch-bug nymphs, which range from pink to red and have a white stripe across their middles.
Recognize Chinch Bug Damage
Grass attacked by chinch bugs looks like grass suffering from drought. Along your driveway and sidewalks, your grass blades wilt, turn yellow-brown, then dry out and die. If you've checked for chinch bugs and are still not sure you have them, call a professional.
Control and Prevention of Chinch Bugs
If you know you have chinch bugs in your lawn, you can control them by treating your lawn with Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer for Lawns.