Chinch Bugs are one of the most common lawn and garden pests in the northeast. Combatting Cinch Bugs is always a challenge because these insects hit lawns hard and fast in large numbers. Chinch Bugs are sucking insects that are about 1/6” long when they reach maturity. Their adult colors are black with white wings. Immature Chinch Bugs are pink, red, or brown with white bands across their back. Adults tend to hibernate in the winter under fallen leaves and other protected places. In spring they lay their eggs at the bases of plants. When the nymphs hatch, they suck the plant sap from the base of the plant, and this is where the damage starts. With another hot and dry summer coming, we will be focusing our article this week on combatting Chinch Bugs.
Combatting Chinch Bugs
How to tell if you have a Chinch Bug Infestation.
Find a spot where your grass is beginning to yellow then cut the ends off of a tin or aluminum can. Push the can 2 to 3 inches into the soil and fill it with soapy water. Keep refilling it until 2 to 3 inches of water remain above ground level. If you do have a Chinch Bug Infestation, they will float to the surface within five minutes. If you discover 20 to 30 bugs in a square foot area, you may have a major infestation on your hands.
When are Chinch Bugs the most active?
When the weather heats up, Chinch Bugs become active. They prefer the hotter and sunnier patches of lawns. Most of the damage that these insects do is in July and August when the northeast is the hottest and drought conditions are present. Chinch Bugs aggregate together so when it does get warm, vigilance is key as the insects can cause a significant amount of damage in a very short amount of time.
How can I prevent a Chinch Bug infestation?
One of the simplest things you can do to keep Chinch Bugs at bay is to water the lawn when it gets warm. Since this pest requires hot and dry conditions to survive, infrequent and deep waterings can kill the nymphs. The adults are often more resistant to water, but targeted applications of insecticides can be an effective way to combat them. You can also use resistant turfgrasses in the fight against Chinch Bugs. Overseeding with grass types such as Perennial Ryegrass and Fescue can keep the insects at bay because they contain Entophytic Fungi which is good for deterring Chinch Bugs. You should also clean up your yard before winter so the pests don’t have a place to hibernate.