There are 3 species of very similar chinch bugs in the U.S., all in the genus Blissus. Using their straw-like proboscis they feed on the plant fluids of grasses, including turf, corn, wheat, and other crops. In turf they hide within the thatch and feed most often on the crown of the plant and base of the blades. They undergo simple metamorphosis, with 5 nymph stages. As it feeds the chinch bug injects a chemical into the plant that begins to clog the vascular system of the plant, leading to yellowish dead patches on the leaves and ultimately death of that blade of grass. As feeding continues the dead areas of the turf expand outward in small, irregular patches. Damage is most noticeable in open, sunny areas.
This begins with ensuring the cause of the problem by inspecting the thatch for the bugs, which will be at the perimeter of the dead patches. The presence of only a few chinch bugs is not a threat to the turf, and healthy turf can withstand these minor infestations without applications of pesticides. Natural predators and resistant strains of turf can also keep them at bay. Where chinch bugs are a traditional problem an early application of an insecticide to the turf will intercept the over-wintering females before they deposit their eggs. Timing is important, and your local Extension Service can provide information for your region.