What are chinch bugs?
Have you been watering your lawn, yet it still appears to be dry in patches? The patches may be due to chinch bug damage. This insect first attacks on sunny hillsides. If you peer between the grass blades, you may be able to see the tiny chinch bugs scurry. They have reddish brown bodies in their young stages and mature into black and white coloured adults.
Chinch bugs are small insects which live in and feed on lawn grasses. They live above the soil and feed on living grass plants by means of a piercing mouthpart called a stylet (similar to a mosquito). The insect inserts its stylet into the leaves, stems or crowns and sucks the juices out of the plant. The damage looks quite similar to drought symptoms, but of course watering does not remedy the problem.
Chinch bugs survive the winter as adults seeking shelter from the cold and snow under shrubs, hedges and leaf litter. In late spring they come out of hiding and venture into the lawn. Here they mate and the females will seek a hot dry location in which lay their eggs (usually starting on south facing sloping hillsides). The adult female will lay approximately 250 eggs in the lawn. In about 3 weeks time the eggs begin to hatch and the young chinch bugs called nymphs begin feeding. The eggs are laid close together so when the eggs hatch and the young begin feeding, small patches of brown grass begin to appear. If the homeowner ignores the problem or confuses it with drought the patches get bigger as the insect matures and seeks food further afield. Chinch bugs can ruin a lawn in 3 weeks if no control methods are taken.
How to treat for chinch bugs?
Promptly treating potentially devastating chinch bug infestations can help protect the investment you have made in a lawn care program and your property. If you notice suspicious brown patches starting to appear in the lawn. DO NOT HESITATE! Call your local Weed Man Professional for a free healthy lawn analysis. Weed Man can verify the presence of a potentially damaging infestation; discuss preventative measures and recommend treatment if required. Consult with your local Weed Man Professional to discuss all options with respect to dealing with insects in your lawn.