Get To Know Chinch Bugs...And Save Your Lawn This Summer
You've probably noticed the large, irregular patches of yellowish stunted grass on your carefully tended lawn and wondered, "how did that happen?". Here's your chance to get to know the perpetrators and learn how to eliminate them.
Chinch Bug Characteristics
Chinch bugs grow to about 1/4" in length, are black and white in color, and their wings form a distinctive folded design. Immature chinch bugs can be spotted due to their bright red color and a white band across their backs. These insects produce a strong odor, especially in dense populations.
Chinch bug activity usually begins near impervious surfaces, such as driveways, sidewalks, and curbs. From here, they are known to cause extensive damage to your lawn quickly.
Chinch Bug Life Cycle
Adult chinch bugs hibernate or "overwinter" in areas of dry grass which provides them with protection in the winter months when they are not active. These insects typically mate in the warmer months (starting in April through November), and at this point the females will deposit their eggs on the stem and leaves of turf grass. These eggs then hatch in approximately 2 weeks.
The immature chinch bugs will consume large amounts of fluids within the grass leaf sheaths, in turn transferring a poison that kills the grass structure they are feeding on. Once the host structure dies, these insects jump to the neighboring grass plant, causing the ever expanding "dead" areas in the lawn.
They take approximately four to six weeks to mature into an adult. A female chinch bug can produce as many as 500 eggs per cycle and there can be up to 3 different generations per year.
Chinch Bug Detection
A trained Eco Pest technician can carry out a simple field test to determine if the dead or damaged grass is in fact the cause of a chinch bug infestation. A cylindrical sleeve is inserted into the grass (typically at the edge of damaged areas), the sleeve is then filled with water where the insects will float to the top and can easily be identified.
Chinch Bug Treatment
A trained Eco Pest technician will take a square foot measurement of the lawn and apply a mixture of residual chemicals to the entirety of the lawn area, including ornamental and flower gardens (not just damaged or dead grass). This is done to ensure and control any spread of the target insect.
A typical lawn treatment program will include 6 treatments per year (every other month). Dependent on the level of infestation and other factors, the technician may opt to re-apply the residual chemical mixture or use a granular insecticide over a series of five additional treatments in the calendar year.