This small insect is a true bug and can be a major turf pest some years. Chinch bugs feed on turf from June through September, so their feeding can often look like drought stress, brown patch, or grub damage. Adults will be present, however. They feed on the blades of the grass and inject the plants with a chemical that clogs their vascular system and eventually kills them. The overall appearance of the damage will be yellow patches that turn brown and spread outward.
If a struggling lawn is identified as having a chinch bug infestation, control can be achieved in several ways. Tall fescue is somewhat resistant to chinch bugs, whereas warm-season grasses are very resistant. In areas where chinch bugs are an issue, bluegrass, ryegrass, and fine fescue should not be used. Lawns that go dormant in the heat of summer also reduce chinch bug populations but might not generally be desirable for most homeowners. Chinch bugs can also be controlled by applying products such as permethrin or bifenthrin. The whole lawn should be sprayed, and the chemical should not be watered in as the bugs feed on the blades of grass.