Chinch Bugs

Order/Family: Hemiptera/Lygaeidae

Description:

  • Adults are 3/16-inches long with a black body covered by fully developed white wings with two black spots. Legs are red.
  • Some populations have short wings.
  • Nymphs, which are smaller than the adults, initially are orange-to-red with a white band across their back. As they mature (molt), they grow darker in color until they are black.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • Females produce 300 eggs during their lifetime. Eggs are laid on the soil surface over a period pf 40 – 50 days and hatch within one to two weeks.
  • Nymphs molt several times during the next 30 days before becoming adults.
  • The life cycle requires 4 to 6 weeks and, typically, there are two generations per year.
  • They prefer hot, sunny, and dry areas and overwinter as adults in thatch, leaf litter and other debris.

 

Turf Attacked:

  • Fine fescues, perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, St, Augustine, zoysia grasses.

 

Damage:

  • Chinch bugs injure and destroy grasses by feeding on plant juices in the stems and leaves using their piercing and sucking mouthparts.
  • Damaged grass turns yellow and then, as it dies, reddish brown. Damage usually begins as irregular patches along a sidewalk or driveway which spreads to adjacent sunny areas.
  • Damage becomes more extensive throughout the summer.