During the hot summer months, this is a familiar sight in many yards, including this spot in my front lawn. A southern chinch bug (Blissus insularis) infestation can quickly kill off healthy St. Augustine grass. While a lot of folks opt to have a local service spray chemical on a regular basis, spot treating an area when a problem develops may be a better solution. It is less toxic to the environment, and applying chemicals less often prevents the pest from developing a resistance to the available products.
We've had more difficulty this summer in trying to contain this infested area. We applied the treatment several times, but the grass continued to die off until we finally applied another brand and met with success. Next time, I'll be sure to spread the chemical out around the fringes of the dead grass to stop these bugs in their tracks.
The University of Florida offers some helpful advice on detecting and controlling them, as well as recommended products in their article, Southern Chinch Bug Management on St. Augustine Grass.