Chinch bugs are fast moving pests that most commonly attack grasses. Adults are 1/6th of an inch (4mm) long, with reddish legs and white forewings with a black triangular spot below the head. The youngest are bright red with a white stripe across the back; older are black with white spots.
They are most common in eastern North America.
Turf, Corn and Cereal Grain Crops
Adults and nymphs suck the sap from roots and stems, leaving behind wilted and dying plants. Infested lawns show dying patches of turf resembling drought damage.
Adults overwinter in clumps of grass along southern borders or fences or hedges. In spring adults migrate to fields and to turf grass. Females lay eggs on grass roots or on lower leaves of grain plants. Eggs will hatch in 2-3 weeks; nymphs chew on roots for 4-5 weeks; then molt to adults in late June. Two generations are common per growing season and three in southern climates.
For lawns plants endophyte-containing turf cultivars. Encourage predators like lady bugs and birds. Chinch bugs avoid shade so plant accordingly. This is also defensively.
For small infested areas try soaking the lawn with insecticidal soap, known to us as "Chinch Bug Home Remedy." You will find this on the Pest Control Pages. Then lay a flannel sheet over the area to snare the bugs as they retreat. Then drown them in a bucket of soapy water. After this occurs immediately water the lawn with a well covering sprinkler.