By Brenda Watson for Rick Brandenburg (08-14-07)
As of August 1st we’ve been getting numerous reports of chinch bug damage in eastern North Carolina. The southern chinch bug is the most injurious pest of St. Augustinegrass turf where ever it is grown. This pest accounts for millions of dollars in damage to turf and control costs each year. The adults and nymphs have piercing-sucking mouth parts, and as they suck plant juices from stems, crowns and stolons they also inject a toxin that causes the grass to yellow and die. Damage occurs any time from May to November, but is most evident during dry conditions, when populations as low as 25 - 30 insects per 0.1 m2 can cause severe damage. Southern chinch bugs prefer open sunny areas of St. Augustinegrass, especially lawns with abundant thatch. The insect aggregates in scattered patches. Small spots of damaged grass initially become noticeable. However, as the infestation progresses, the damaged areas, if left uncontrolled, coalesce into larger areas of dead turf. Damage shows up first in sunny, drought -stressed, or heat-stressed areas of the lawn. For more information view related links below.