Chinch Bugs

Most of us first encountered these small nuisance bugs when we were kids. Most likely it was on a swell, manicured lawn. We we’re wearing shorts, no shirts, shoeless and decided — as children do — to spontaneously roll around in the grass.

For the rest of the day, we started inching, some of us got a rash, but overall it was not the best thing to happen all week. We thought, since when is it bad to take a tumble in the turf.

As the years rolled on, we figured out that the lawn was St. Augustine grass. Upon further research in our Earth Science class in 7th grade we finally discovered that what was bugging us was the little monster known as a chinch bug.


It Ain’t Only About the Itch

Chinch bugs are all over the Gulf States, all the way up to North Carolina and Georgia. Sure, the buggers are mostly at home in St. Augustine, you’ll likewise find them in zoysia, pangola, centipede, torpedo and bahia grass. Sometime they go high class and infect Bermuda grass.

The diminutive guys are just a tad shorter than a grain of rice. They’re black when they’re fully grown. The babies are reddish-orange, customized with a white band splashed across their back. They fold their white wings that are painted with a triangular shaped black speck at the tip of their flying division. Sometimes the flappers are long, occasionally short.

They only last about 2 months before going to chinch bug heaven. But the ladies are quite prolific. By that we mean during their short lifetimes they lay eggs daily — generally in clusters of 4-to-5. Take out your calculator: That means in around 8 weeks, they cook-up to 300 eggs.

The eggs will be found in soft dirt or the underside of a leaf. Takes a little over a week before the eggs crack, releasing the kids.

Act Now

The Chinch bug babies survive winter, beginning to pop-up in Spring. Places like the Sunshine State, they don’t sleep and hang around all year. Where we live it’s now the ideal time to take action by contacting your pest control specialist at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control. If you’re proud of your lawn, chinch bugs can do a number on your pride and joy. They eat the grass and turn large splotches into yellow patches. Then the area turns brown. Since the good stuff is no longer on the chinch bugs menu, they retreat to the periphery. The damage can then grow exponentially.

Nip it before the dry times of the late Spring and Summer months. And expect an infestation to start in the sun-drenched areas first.

A final word: You’ll notice a problem when just 20 chinch bugs take a square foot and begin to do their business. Word to the wise. Call a pro today. You don’t want to have to break it to the kids that rolling around in the sod will hurt them. Additionally, you don’t want to do double duty after the fact. In other words, kill the remaining chinch bugs and then resod the whole yard. That’s a bummer in the summer.

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