Adult chinch bugs are small insects that have a hard body; two pairs of wings that are folded over the insect’s back; and are distinctly colored in spotted combinations of black, white or red. Many chinch bugs have different coloration in their early nymphal and later nymphal stages. Most species that cause serious crop and turf damage are only about 1/8 to ¼ inch long and have mouthparts that are used to pierce into the plant and suck out plant juices.Typical chinch bug habitats are agricultural crops, native grasses, weeds and lawns.
Chinch bugs overwinter as adults and emerge in spring to lay eggs on their host plant or in the soil. Eggs hatch within a week and the nymphs begin feeding. Depending on the species and location, chinch bugs will complete two to three generations per year.
Chinch bug damage results from feeding by both nymphs and adults. As the bugs feed, they inject a toxin that interferes with the plant’s ability to get moisture and nutrients from the soil. The result is wilting and damage to the plant’s tissues that are needed for survival and growth. In lawns, the damage looks like spots of grass that has yellowed or turned brown. Sunny locations are normally the most seriously affected and the homeowner may think that draught conditions are causing the grass to die.