Lawn Invasion: Chinch Bugs
July 2, 2012
Despite all your hard work; watering, mowing, weeding and feeding, your lawn still looks like it is suffering from drought stress. The answer is probably chinch bugs. These pesky bugs show up in herds to dry up your lawn, killing patches or your whole lawn.
Managing Chinch Bugs In Your Lawn
Grass suffering from chinch bug infestation looks similar to drought stress.
Chinch Bugs – Chinch bugs are easy to recognize once you know what you are looking for. Young chinch bugs are yellow but soon turn red in color with a white band that appears across their bodies as they mature. However, adult chinch bugs are only about 1/5 of an inch in size, making them very hard to see. Chinch bugs love the warm sunny areas of the lawn and seldom attack grass that is shaded, which is another reason their damage is often mistaken as drought stress. These pests are what are known as Surface Feeding Insects. They suck the chlorophyll, or “the green” out of the plant while releasing a toxin that causes the plant to turn yellow-brown and eventually die. Typically damage will be first noticed along driveways, curbs, sidewalks, and foundations due to the level of heat that builds up from direct sunlight through the warmer months.
Detection – Take a look at your lawn and note the following areas: spots with prolonged sun exposure during the day as well as any area that contacts cement or pavement due to the heat absorbed by these materials. Since chinch bugs are so small, they aren’t going to be obvious, you are going to have to look for them. On a sunny day try sliding your shoe through areas in the lawn where damage is evident and see if any critters crawl across your shoe. If that doesn’t work you can try “the Tin Can Method”. Cut out both ends of a tin can, making a tube, push one end into the ground where chinch bugs are normally evident, fill the can with water and wait 10 minutes or so. If you have chinch bugs, they will start to float up towards the surface. Take note: you may see bugs that appear pinkish or slightly yellow, these are young chinch bugs. If you have checked for chinch bugs but are still not sure you have them or not, give us a call: 888-581-5296 We are happy to help!
What can I do? – For small problems, nature has provided a natural enemy to the chinch bug: the ground beetle. However, if you are seeing a problem, most likely the infestation has reached numbers that nature cannot keep in balance. With all full Green Lawn Programs we include 2 APPLICATIONS for chinch bugs and other pesky Surface Feeding Insects at no cost to you! These applications go down in the Early and Late Summer when these pests are most active. If you find that you are having habitual issues with any other insects located in your lawn, we offer our FLEA & TICK PROGRAM. This full program of 4 applications covers fleas, ticks, and deer ticks amongst others.
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Lawn Insect Guide
Understand the insects most commonly found in lawns in this region and know how to keep them from damaging your property.