lawn pest uses a piercing mouthpiece to suck sap from turf grass.
Damage by Chinch Bugs appears as brownish-yellow circular dead patches
of grass. As the grass dies, openings are created for weeds to become
established. Chinch Bugs can be found throughout the lawn, but prefer
sunny, dry areas near slopes, fences and edges of lawn. If the weather
is cool and wet, only a small population will be found. Large
populations occur when the weather is hot and dry, with little
precipitation early in the growing season.
Chinch Bugs are black with shiny white wings, and are approximately 1/8
of an inch or 3 millimeters in length. Their small size, along with
their speed makes them very hard to see and catch in the grass. The
nymph, 1/3 the size of an adult, does most of the damage. They are red
with a white band across their backs.
cycle of the Chinch Bug consists of three stages; egg, nymph and adult.
The adults spend the winter in areas that are sheltered such as hedges,
piles of leaves or dried grass. As the temperature warms up, the
females leave these sheltered areas and lay approximately 200 eggs in
hot, dry areas. These eggs will hatch in 3 weeks producing the nymphs.
The nymphs go through five growth stages before becoming adults. During
a typical season 2 generations of Chinch Bugs will be produced.
damage done by Chinch Bugs resembles a variety of other symptoms, it is
essential to determine whether or not the damage is caused by Chinch
Bugs or by lack of moisture, or over-fertilization. One method is to
take a large can, cut both ends off and push it down into the top layer
of grass. Use an area where the brownish-yellow grass meets the healthy
green grass. Fill the can with water and watch for the Chinch Bugs to
float to the top.
regular fertilized lawn can resist a Chinch Bug attack. Cultural
practices, which include proper watering and mowing, is your best
defense against Chinch Bug damage. Mow at between 2 ½ to 3
inches, and keep the mower blade sharp to prevent the ripping or
tearing the grass blade tips, which create more openings for the Chinch
Bugs. Keep the thatch layer between ½ to ¾ of an
inch. Deep Core Aerating on an annual basis will help to keep the
thatch layer in check. Applying one inch of water once a week will
ensure your lawn does not dry out. Finally keep your hedges cleaned
out, especially in the fall, as this is when the adults are searching
for areas to hibernate in.
find cultural controls are not working to alleviate the problem,
chemical control is an option. Use a pesticide that will have the least
amount of impact on the environment, and use a professional lawn
service, such as Ace of Blades, to perform this application. Ensure the
company has Pesticide Service Approval issued by Alberta Environmental
Protection, and treatments are performed by a certified applicator.
Insect control chemicals are hazardous if they are not used properly.
Do not put yourself or your neighbors at risk by doing this yourself,
or by hiring someone who may not be qualified.