With several species that exist all over the United States, Chinch bugs are bothersome for lawn and landscape because they cause exceptional damages to turf grass. They also love to feed on corn, rice and sorghum. Chinch bugs are mostly found on dry and stressed lawns with young plants and grass. They use sharply pointed mandible to extract the sap and insert a toxic substance that restricts the plan from carrying water.
An adult chinch bug measures approximately 1/4 inch long, black body with fully developed grayish wings with triangular dark patches at the outermost margins. They have an antenna and 3 pairs of legs similar with nymphs.
A nymph is a bright red in color with a white band across their back. It slowly changes color from red to black and grows wings as they reach maturity. Bother adult and nymphs release a strong unpleasant odor when they are crushed or when they come in large groups.
Adult chinch bugs spend their winter in weeds and grasses before starting to become active in the spring. During the spring season or early summer, the bugs mate and females begin depositing eggs on the leaves or stem of the grass. An adult female can lay more than 500 eggs and will be hatched after 1-3 weeks. The wingless nymphs emerge and will go through 5 stages of development before completely turning into an adult that can take up to a month. The life-cycle may occur within 6 weeks or longer depending on the temperature and 2 or more generations can happen yearly.
A chinch bug-infested lawn may show signs of yellow or drought-stressed spots in the yard. Infestation normally occurs during the hot and dry weather from June to September. Large yellow to brown patches will appear in as the grass dies usually starts on the border of the lawn and will eventually become bigger in size even if watered properly. When the infected host plant dies, these bugs will move to the neighbor searching for new host plants.
Controlling the chinch bugs can also mean maintaining your lawns regularly. Mow it at the recommended height, improve soil fertilizer and keep it well-watered. If an area is heavily infested sprinkle diluted dishwashing liquid to itch the chinch bugs away. For small areas, using organic soap is a safe solution. This will cause dehydration that slowly kills the turf pests. If none of the mentioned methods work, remember to get a hand from a reliable pest control professional near your area.
At Fleming Lawn and Pest Services, we protect your home or business with superior care. Unlike the “Big Pest Control companies” we don’t pay our technicians based on how many locations they treat in a day.