The chinch bug is most effectively treated when it is first detected, generally in the summer. To determine their presence, cut a tin can on both ends, push one end into the lawn, and fill with water for 10 minutes. Chinch bugs and their nymphs float to the surface.
The damage caused by chinch bugs occurs primarily in St. Augustine and zoysia grass, varieties that flourish in southern climates. A chinch bug infestation is often mistaken for drought damage, with grass blades that wilt, turning yellowish-brown and dying out. Besides early detection and appropriate chemical insect control, chinch bug eradication depends on cultural and preventative practices. Chinch bugs thrive in thick, moist lawns. Frequent lawn mowing that removes no more than one-third of the grass at a time prevents thatch build-up. Fewer fertilizer applications and less frequent watering are also deterrents to chinch bug problems.