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Southern Chinch Bug Facts Every Commercial Property Manager Has To Know

Chinch bugs may be tiny, but they’re responsible for millions of dollars in lawn damage annually. If these grass-killing insects are threatening to take over your commercial property, you should reach out to the team of experts at East Coast Sprayers. With their personalized lawn spraying treatments in West Palm Beach, FL, you can finally say goodbye to all of your turf troubles. 

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What Is a Southern Chinch Bug?

Unlike other insects, the Southern Chinch Bug (Blissus insularis Barber) undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. This means that it goes through gradual changes throughout its three life stages – egg, nymph, and adult.  

What Does It Look Like?

Depending on its host plant and environmental conditions, a female chinch bug can produce up to 300 eggs within the course of its life with an average of four eggs per day. Its oval-shaped eggs measure about 1 mm in length and are usually deposited in the thatch layer, on the surfaces of leaves, and within the leaf sheath.  

These eggs hatch into yellow larvae before they morph as nymphs. Although nymphs look a lot like adults, they’re smaller, they have bright red or orange bodies with white bands on their abdomens, and they don’t have wings.  

On the other hand, adult southern chinch bugs are flying insects with white patches on their wings and measure about 0.2 inches (4.7 mm) long. While those that have long and full-length wings are called macropterous, those that have short and reduced wings are called brachypterous. Depending on the temperature and food supply, adult chinch bug lifespans can range between ten to as many as 70 days.  

Are They Hardy Species?

If you think that southern chinch bug colonies die off with seasonal changes, think again. These are hardy creatures that can manage to survive cool weather. Since South Florida’s winter weather is extremely milk, these bugs won’t stop populating and recolonizing as they spread across your entire lawn. 

What Does It Feed On?

Although these insects love to feast on St. Augustine grass, they also feed on other turfgrasses including the following:  

  • Bahiagrass 
  • Bermudagrass 
  • Kentucky bluegrass 
  • Fescues 
  • Perennial ryegrass 
  • Crabgrass 
  • Zoysiagrass 
  • Centipedegrass. 

Both juvenile and mature southern chinch bugs live in the thatch and feed on grass stems, stolons, and crowns by piercing these parts with their needle-like mouthparts and sucking the plant juices. To facilitate easy feeding, their bodies automatically release enzymes that continue to cause damage to the grass even after feeding.  

Furthermore, these insects tend to feed in clusters or groups. Once they exhaust a food supply in one area, they move in a mass migration to another spot within the lawn area. 

What Are the Signs of a Southern Chinch Bug Lawn Infestation?

You may be dealing with a southern chinch bug infestation if your lawn displays circular, sunken patches of yellowish-brown grass. In most cases, these infected areas occur first along the water-stressed edges of the lawn or areas where the grass is growing in full sunlight.  

When the infestation is at its worst, you’ll see these insects running over the grass blades. In South Florida, severe lawn damage typically becomes more evident in the months of March through November. 

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Are You In Need of Pest Control Lawn Spraying Treatment in West Palm Beach, FL?

If left unchecked, southern chinch bug colonies will continue to multiply until they kill your once-healthy lawn. Luckily, the lawn care professionals at East Coast Sprayers can help you eliminate these pests and bring your dying lawn back to life. Contact us today to schedule an inspection. 


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