PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA - Helpful information about Pinellas lawns & landscapes.

How to Identify Chinch Bugs and Chinch Bug Damage in St Augustine Grass Lawns

Chinch Bug Adults and Nymphs
Chinch Bug Adults and Nymphs and Damge on St Augustine grass 

Chinch Bugs are Pest of St Augustine Grass

The most widely used turf species in Pinellas County is St Augustine grass. It has a lot great qualities: Dark green color, thick uniform growth, easy to establish and more. But it has this one huge down side:  chinch bugs. Why are they so troublesome, because they are lethal. Chinch bug damage is so complete, there is no recovery - the lawn is dead and must be replaced.

How to Recognize Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are small, little  1/8" bugs that live in your lawn near the base of the leaf. They kill the grass by their feeding and injecting a toxin into the leaf causing the leaf to turn banana yellow and then paper bag brown. Finding chinch bugs in the lawn is tough - they are small, fast and when exposed to light they make a bee line for the nearest cover.

How to tell if you have Chinch Bugs

Their damage mimics water stress and water stress - aka poor irrigation -  seems to trigger a population explosion and what didn't die from water stress, the chinch bugs will kill.

The damage does have few distinct characteristics like banana yellow leaves between dead and green grass, the paper bag brown color or scorched look to dead plants, an incomplete kill - you'll always find a few sprigs of surviving grass in the dead grass like wounded survivors in a battle field and although chinch bugs can be attack anywhere in the lawn, they will most likely start along the edge of a sidewalk or driveway.

What to do If you have Chinch Bugs

Should you suspect chinch bugs, first check the irrigation and repair as needed and then apply a good insecticide to the whole area and beyond the dead grass by 10 feet. Don't be surprised if the dead areas  grow after treatment -Even thought the chinch bug is dead - their toxin live on and takes days to kill.

The best advice is get a good lawn spraying company - if you had chinch bugs once, you'll always have them.

Related Articles:

Chinch Bugs: What are Chinch Bugs How to Spot Chinch Bugs and How to Control Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bugs Exposed

Article by Rick Orr
APL Lawn Spraying Inc.

Rick Orr is the creator of, an Agronomist and the Owner/Operator of APL Lawn Spraying. Rick is a graduate from VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology). He has been a Golf Course Superintendent, Certified Arborist, Landscape Contractor, Irrigation Contractor and Adjunct Professor for Environmental Horticulture.

Rick is an expert at growing St Augustine turf. Since 1995, Rick has spent his time researching, developing and testing the best management practices for St Augustine turf grown in Pinellas County.

The results of that work is a one of the top rated lawn spray companies in Pinellas County – APL Lawn Spraying. APL Lawn Spraying is a family owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL.

APL Lawn Spraying provides lawn spraying to commercial properties, HOA’s and single family homes. To request a free quote for your property, click here: Free Advice or Price Quote

Speaking Engagments - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. Call or email for more information.

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