Chinch Bugs and St. Augustine Lawns

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If you have a St. Augustine lawn, you may want to take a really close look at the grass near the soil. Chinch bugs (Blissus insularis Barber) can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time, especially when the numbers build up. They are true bugs so they have piercing-sucking mouth parts that cause all the damage.

They can typically be found at the soil line. Getting down on the ground and looking through the base of the plants is one way to look for this pest. It is very small with the adults being about ¼ inch long and black and white in color. The immature stages look very similar to the adults but much smaller.

Southern Chinch Bug, David Shetlar, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Southern Chinch Bug, David Shetlar, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

They are more often found on St. Augustine grass, but can also be found on any of the other common turfgrasses grown in home lawns in our area. If you have irregularly shaped dead patches in your lawn, it’s worth a closer look to see if you have chinch bugs.