Brown frazzled areas of grass seem to grow before your eyes as you look out at your yard. Is something sucking the life out of your lawn? You may have a chinch bug infestation. Often mistaken for drought stress, the damage caused by these invasive insects spreads fast and costs a lot to fix. Damaged turf may require a complete renovation. Here’s how to chase away chinch bugs before it’s too late.
Little Insects, Big Damage: Signs and Symptoms of a Chinch Bug Infestation
In the northern United States, hairy chinch bugs prefer Kentucky bluegrass. These damaging little devils live in the thatch layer or surface of turf. Covered in fine hairs, adult chinch bugs are black with white wings, while the young are orange and wingless. The bugs suck the sap out of grass blades. But that’s not the only problem. The insects leave their toxic saliva behind to do even more damage.
Damage caused by a chinch bugs shows up mainly in mid to late summer. The dead areas of grass grow in size as the pest population increases. In a matter of weeks, a chinch bug infestation often kills entire lawns.
Other Suspects of a Chinch Bug Infestation
The signs of a chinch bug infestation mimic other lawn issues, like drought, other pests, and turf diseases. Even in appearances, the chinch bug is sometimes mistaken for the big-eyed bug (Geocoris). Ironically, beneficial big-eyed bugs prey on chinch bugs. How do you know what’s hurting your lawn? Try the can test. Take the top and bottom off of a can and press it halfway into the turf. Then, add water to the can, refilling it as the soil soaks it up for about ten minutes. See how many bugs float up. If a couple dozen pests or more appear, you have a chinch bug problem.
Chinch Bug Infestation Solutions
To prevent a chinch bug infestation, plant endophytic-enhanced turfgrass. Endophytes are beneficial organisms that form symbiotic relationships with other living things. Harmless for lawns, the tiny organisms give grass a flavor chinch bugs dislike. The pests then look elsewhere for tasty turf.
Before going to chemicals, consider natural warfare. Beauveria bassiana, a parasitic fungus, thrives in hot, humid weather and attacks chinch bugs. Water regularly to keep conditions moist enough for fungus to do its job.
Already have an existing chinch bug problem? Insecticides with the ingredient pyrethroid effectively kill the pests. Liquid formulas work best because they soak into the soil better. Spot treat the infected areas.
We Can Help
Don’t let chinch bug damage destroy your lawn. If you see signs of any infestation or lawn disease, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll bring your lawn back to life.