Chinch bugs offten apper on our lawns. And there are several questions we really want to know. Is it harmful? How to recognize him? How to find him? How to avoid it? How to solve it? The answers to these questions are in the article.
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What Are Chinch Bugs?
Small, annoying insects known as “chinch bugs” frequently eat St. John’s wort and zoysia grass. Augustine lawns all over the country.
Having a body that ranges in color from dark red to black, white wings, and a white dot on its back, a full-grown Chinch measures less than ¼ of an inch in length. Nymphs are easily identified by their vivid red color and white band across their abdomen.
It’s common to find fewer than 15 chinch bugs per square foot of grass on lawns, but it’s important to not disregard these diminutive insects.
The population of bugs can increase to over 100 bugs per square foot of lawn under the right circumstances.
Untreated, it is obvious that these bugs can severely harm your lawn. With their needle-like beaks, each bug pierces the grass and then suckers the fluids out.
Due to their feeding, large erratic patches of lawns start to turn yellow before dying and turning brown. Even when properly watered, these patches, which frequently start on the edges of lawns, will only continue to grow larger.
Why Are Chinch Bugs A Problem?
As homeowners attempt to control outbreaks by using treatments and replacing damaged grass, it’s hard to believe that these tiny lawn pests cause millions of dollars worth of damage each year. These pests inject toxins back into the leaf blade after sucking the juices from the grass blades, killing the grass
Where Can I Find Chinch Bugs On My Lawn?
The layer between the grass and the soil, known as the thatch layer, is where people can be found. They can, however, be seen crawling across the grass or resting on leaf blades when there is a large population.
How Does Damage Cause By Chinch Bugs Appear?
As you can see in the image below, signs take the form of uneven patches of lawn that resemble drought stress. Gradually, the grass in these areas turns brown, then yellow.
The outside margin of the dead grass will be yellowed, and the growth of the yellow grass will be stunted. The bare spots will start to be filled in by weeds.
It’s crucial to never discount the possibility that chinch bugs are to blame for any damage to your lawn when it starts to resemble the scene below. People more frequently mistake this for lawn ailments like brown patch fungus.
What Kinds Of Chinch Bugs Exist?
Only four of the more than 20 Blissus species that are native to North America have been identified as turfgrass pests. These are:
- The Common Chinch Bug (Blissus Leucopterus Leucopterus Say)
- The Hairy Chinch Bug (Blissus Leucopterus Hirtus Montandon),
- The Southern Chinch Bug (Blissus Insularis Barber), and
- The Western Chinch Bug (Blissus Occiduus Barber).
Which Kinds Of Grass Do Chinch Bugs Prefer?
Turfgrass species like Kentucky bluegrass, fescues, perennial ryegrass, bent grass, and zoysia grass are preferred by the hairy chinch bug.
The Common Chinch Bug, on the other hand, prefers to eat grains like sorghum, corn, and wheat but will also attack turfgrasses like Bermudagrass, fescues, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, zoysia grass, and crabgrass.
The most destructive insect in St. Louis is the Southern Chinch Bug. In addition to Bermuda grass, centipede grass, and zoysia grass, it also harms Augustine grass (buffalo grass).
How To Spot Chinch Bugs On Your Lawn?
If chinch bugs decide to feast in your yard, the good news is that you can look for them and find them. The task can be challenging due to the insect’s small size, which is not-so-good news.
As soon as you notice dry patches on your lawn, it is best practice to inspect it.
There are a few ways to determine whether cinch bugs are present in your lawn. The first method is to simply use a magnifying glass and your hands.
There is no need to be concerned about being bitten because these tiny insects do not harm people. The best way to find these annoying insects is to spread the grass close to the soil on the lawn’s outer edges and look in the thatch layer.
The tops of the soil and the undersides of grass stolons, which are root systems that extend above the ground, can also be examined.
The alternative is to employ a coffee can. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Take a coffee can and cut off the top and bottom lids.
- Use a twisting motion to bury the can in the ground.
- Water should be put in the can.
- Wait for about 10 minutes.
- Check to see if any chinch bugs rise to the top.
When Usually Do Chinch Bugs Appear?
Chinch bugs spend the winter hiding in the grass thatch and come out in the warm springtime. Chinch bugs are most active by late spring or early summer because they like the heat.
After the adult females have laid their eggs around the middle of the summer, the second batch of chinch bugs for the year will hatch in the late summer.
Since damage from these insects occurs when temperatures rise and stressed, cool-season grasses go dormant, people may find it difficult to identify the source of their dead lawn patches as being caused by chinch bugs.
How Affect Lawns Are Chinch Bugs?
Chinch bugs eat away at your lawn by first piercing a blade of grass with their razor-sharp beaks and sucking out the plant’s natural fluids, which causes the plant to become dehydrated and die.
However, the biggest issue is still not that one. The damage they are responsible for would be much less severe if it were only wrong they did. The problem is that, in addition to eating your grass, they are poisoning it.
The toxin stops the grass from absorbing water going forward, so it completely dies because it is not only actively dehydrated right now but also has no way of absorbing water.
What Does Chinch Bug Damage Look Like?
It is common to mistake a chinch bug infestation for a water shortage. Both of these problems can be caused by chinch bugs, which figuratively suck the water out of the grass.
As a result, uneven patches of lawn that resemble drought stress are indicators of a chinch bug infestation. The grass in these patches will eventually die as they start to turn brown and then yellow.
A yellow patch of grass with stunted growth will surround the dead grass, as you’ll see. Weed will start to fill in the dead patches at the same time.
Look for discolored areas, especially those that are exposed to the sun, as well as those that are near driveways and sidewalks.
If you regularly water your lawn or increase watering and still see no improvement, this is another important sign that you probably have a chinch bug infestation.
Drought damages your lawn consistently, which is another important distinction between these two lawn problems. On the other hand, chinch bugs will eat your grass in isolated areas.
The float test that we previously mentioned can be used if you’re still unsure of the exact cause of your lawn damage.
How Do I Get Rid Of Crickets?
Chinch bugs prefer neglected lawns with compacted soils, buildups of thatch, a deficiency in moisture, or an excess of nitrogen. When your lawn is properly maintained, infestations are less likely to occur and damage tolerance is increased. Some helpful practices include the following:
- When replacing grass, pick an insect-resistant, endophytic tall fescue or ryegrass variety (endophytes are naturally occurring fungi that eradicate lawn pests, including chinch bugs).
- To lessen soil compaction, aerate the lawn in the spring.
- In the fall, remove thick layers of thatch (an organic matter on the soil’s surface). Remember that in cold climates, some thatch may be required to prevent winterkill.
- Overfertilizing will encourage increased insect activity, so avoid doing so.
- Utilize nitrogen fertilizers that are water-insoluble or slow-releasing. The majority of lawns should be able to grow with 1 kg of nitrogen per 100 m2 (or roughly 2 lb per 1000 ft2).
- During the summer, thoroughly water the lawn (but no more than once per week).
- 6 to 8 cm (2.5 to 3.5 inches) of soil should always be kept moist.
- The grass shouldn’t be mowed too short. The grass won’t be overworked with a length of 6 to 7.5 cm (2.5 to 3 inches).
- When the pH of the soil is below 6.5, add agricultural limestone.