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Scout your lawn on sunny, warm days by dragging a foot through the turf and watching for small, black bugs to crawl across your toe. You can also identify an infestation by using a large coffee can with both ends cut out. Press one end of the can about 2 or 3 inches into the soil, fill with soapy water, and observe. If chinch bugs are present, they will float to the surface. Check the margins--where the yellowish spots and the green grass meet--in several different locations.
Repeated applications of soapy water will kill many of the chinch bugs, but complete control requires the use of an insecticide. Consult the Cooperative Extension Service to determine which pesticide is best to use. A few species of chinch bugs have developed a resistance to commonly used pesticides.