Chinch bugs love St. Augustinegrass lawns. The adults of this destructive insect are only about 1/5 of an inch long. They are black with what appears to be a white “X” across their backs where their wings fold over. The immature nymphs may be pink to orangey brown with a single white line across their backs.
The older nymphs (left) look similar to the adult (right). Photo Credits: Theresa Friday, Santa Rosa County Extension
An indication of an early infestation is a subtle yellowing of the leaf blades. This is quickly followed by a thinning of the canopy and eventual death of the turf. These insects are somewhat unique in that they prefer hot sunny areas of the lawn over shade so their injury symptoms generally appear in an open area first.
To scout for these tiny insects in your lawn you will need to part the turf canopy to the soil surface along a line where there is a change from damaged yellowing turf to healthy green turf. They move rather quickly, so keep an alert eye for their scurrying back into the turf.
Carbaryl (Sevin®), cyfluthrin (Bayer Advanced Powerforce® Multi-Insect Killer), lambda-cyhalothrin (Spectracide® Triazicide® Insect Killer Once & Done!) and permethrin are labeled insecticides for their control.