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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Southern chinch bug — Blissus insularis

Southern chinch bug adults

Click on image to enlarge.

Identification

Southern chinch bug adults are small, less than 1/5 inch (0.5 cm) long, and black with mostly white wings folded flat over the body. Both long- and short-winged forms may be present. Nymphs are bright red but turn black as they mature. Don’t confuse southern chinch bug with the beneficial bigeyed bug.

Hosts

Primarily St. Augustinegrass

Damage

Damage appears as irregular patches of lawn that turn yellow and then brown. The turfgrass begins to die during hot weather.

Monitoring information

Inspect around grass stems and crowns for reddish, purple, black, or gray bugs up to 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) long. Perform a drench test to move insects to the soil surface.

Management

Reduce thatch and follow recommended irrigation practices. Applying nitrogen at the lowest rate possible for your turf species and environmental conditions can slow chinch bug reproduction. Consider planting resistant varieties of St. Augustinegrass or other turf species. If more than 135 bugs are found per square yard or more than 15 nymphs and adults per square foot, you may need to treat with an insecticide.

Life cycle

For more information on lawn insects, refer to:
Pest Notes: Lawn Insects


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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