Chinch Bugs

  • The Southern Chinch Bug, Blissus insularis Barber, is one of the most important insect pests of St. Augustinegrass in Texas.
  • Damage from chinch bugs can be a problem anywhere St. Augustine grass is grown, and causes the most damage in the Gulf Coast region and in the southern half of the state.
  • This species also occasionally damages other types of turf grass, such as Bermuda, Fescue and Zoysia.
  • Adults are small and slender, measuring 1 ⁄6 to 1 ⁄5 of an inch long. They have black bodies with white wings, each of which bears a distinctive, triangular black mark.
  • Generally speaking, some of the adults at any given site will have full-sized, functional wings. Others will be short-winged and cannot fly.
  • Recently hatched nymphs are wingless, yellow or pinkish-red with a light-colored band across their backs (abdomen). After each molt the nymphs more closely resemble the adults.
  • Expanding, irregular patches of dead or stunted grass surrounded by a halo of yellowing, dying grass often provide the first clue to the presence of chinch bugs
  • These islands of dying grass tend to increase in size and merge as insect numbers increase. Damage can develop rapidly, especially in sunny locations during hot, dry weather.
  • Damage can be confused with certain lawn diseases or other physiological disorders.
  • Generally speaking, if there are enough chinch bugs to cause damage, they can easily be found moving around in the St. Augustine grass.
  • Merchant, Michael, and Dale Mott. Chinch Bugs in St. Augustine Lawns. 3 Oct. 2022.