Several chinch bugs attack turfgrasses in North America. The hairy chinch bug (Blissus leucopterus hirtus Montandon) is the most common pest of northern turfgrasses, although the common chinch bug (Blissus leucopterus leucopterus Say) is occasionally found in cool season lawns.
The common chinch bug is normally found from South Dakota across to Virginia and south to a line running from mid-Texas across to mid-Georgia. The hairy chinch bug cohabits some of the northern range of the common chinch bug but also extends throughout the northeastern states and into southern Canada.
The hairy chinch bug prefers turfgrass species such as fine fescues, perennial ryegrasses, Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass and zoysiagrass. The common chinch bug prefers grain crops such as sorghum, corn and wheat but will attack turfgrasses such as Bermudagrass, fescues, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, zoysiagrass and crabgrass.
Chinch bug damage is usually first detected when irregular patches of turf begin to turn yellow then straw colored. The straw colored areas may be completely dead. These patches continue to become larger in spite of watering.
Feeding by chinch bugs blocks the water and food conducting vessels of grass stems. By blocking the water, the leaves wither as in drought and the manufactured food doesn't get to the roots. The result is plant death. Damage generally occurs during hot, dry weather from June into September.