Dying or dead areas of a lawn can signal the presence of the Chinch Bug. Dry seasons tend to promote it’s spread and damage to lawns.
The chinch bug generally produces two generations per year after over-wintering in the adult stage in rubbish, crevices and thatch. The insect mates early in the season when the temperature reaches 70°F. The female lays eggs on roots, stems and leaves over a two to three week period. One female can lay as many as 500 eggs. The newly hatched bugs–tiny, wingless, bright red nymphs– feed by sucking juices from roots near or at the ground surface. The young bugs turn black as they rapidly grow larger. After 40 to 50 days of voracious feeding, they reach the mature stage and develop wings. The adult chinch bug is shaped like a flattened black and white capsule and is capable of flight. It is about 1/5 inch. Adults of the first brood usually move to a new area before mating and egg laying. Chinch bugs do the greatest damage from mid-summer to early fall. The first generation starts to die in early fall. The second generation hibernates at the approach of cold weather in matted clippings and debris, or in loose soil near the root zone.