The chinch bug is by far the biggest problem for St. Augustine grass. It can destroy your entire lawn, with no recovery possible, if not promptly diagnosed and treated.
The good news is, there is a preventative treatment available. Truly Nolen recommends your lawn be treated in the spring, especially those areas receiving direct sunlight, and areas where there was previous damage.
Brown spots forming in areas around your driveway that can't be explained, are sometimes the first signs of a Chinch Bug invasion.
Chinch bugs suck the juices from the rich St. Augustine grass while injecting toxins into the grass. When the grass dies, you will see secondary infections such as fungus growth. If you see earwigs, ground beetles and spiders, this can be a sign that chinch bugs are present.
These pests prefer to enter the grass stalks where the grass is the most tender, where the new leaf attaches to the stem. Because this area is well protected, Truly Nolen uses a soaking spray to be sure the control material reaches the pest.
Chinch Bug Life Cycle
- During the winter, the adults hibernate in the dead grass and emerge in the spring when the weather warms up. However, in South Florida, they are active year round.
- Soon after they emerge, they mate and lay eggs on the grass close to the soil. Two weeks later, the eggs hatch.
- Nymphs require thirty days to reach maturity.
- The average Chinch bug may have five to six generations each year if living in South Florida and three generations a year if residing in Central Florida.
- The adult chinch bug is 1/5" long, dark brown to black, except for a white "X" on his back. The white "X" is actually his wings folded over his back. The chinch bug rarely flies, although it can fly.
- The Nymph is very small and orange-red in color. As the insect matures, the red color changes to brown or black.