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What is it?

Blissus species insects which feed on lawn grasses, with St. Augustine being a favorite. Adults and nymphs are both problematic.

What does it look like?

Areas of damage turn yellow brown and die in sunny areas like along sidewalks and driveways. Cinch bugs are 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, black to brown with white wings with nymphs being pink to brick red with a white stripe around the body. To check if your damage is caused by them, cut the ends off a tin can and push one end 2 to 3 inches into the soil. Keep it steadily filled with water for about 10 minutes, and if you have chinch bugs they will float to the surface.

How does it manifest?

Adults and nymphs suck the juices out of grass blades, and in turn inject a poison back into the blades which causes them to discolor and die. Heavy infestations can kill an entire lawn in as few as four days. Chinch bugs are sun and heat loving, and will rarely attack a shady lawn.

What can you do about it?

At the first sign of infestation, water the lawn with up to an inch of water to bring insects to the surface. Once you’ve done this, apply insecticide containing isofenphos, daizinon or chlorpyrifos. To prevent recurrent damage from newly hatched eggs, treat the lawn again every two months until frost.