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Make Chinch Bug Control a Cinch

You may not know about chinch bugs, but you’ve probably seen what they’re capable of. The perfect enemy of turfgrass, Chinch bugs attach themselves to blades of grass, sucking them dry and then injecting them with poison. This kills grass and creates massive dry brown spots, eventually leading to infestation, and with some cases requiring completely new turf. So how do you stop these tiny terrors from sucking your landscape of life?

What Is A Chinch Bug?

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Chinch bugs are the most common lawn pest and are typically more active in the southern United States. Chinch is derived from the Spanish chinche, meaning bedbug, and they resemble each other greatly. These tiny insects are only about 5mm long and range from orange to black in color. Their small size and tendency to live on the bottom of blades of grass makes them almost impossible to detect. Females lay hundreds of tiny eggs, which grow over a period of months into hungry adults. These adults then go on to suck grasses dry and deposit more eggs, feeding into their destructive cycle.

In the southern United States, the Chinch bug has plagued farmers since the nineteenth century, preying on wheat and other grains and disrupting local economies as well as destroying whole fields of crops. Farmers were only able to best the pest by switching to soybean farming, as soybeans are not a food chinch bugs care for.

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Causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage annually, Chinch bugs are one of the most damaging pests in the Southern United States. Chinch bugs particularly like Zoysiagrass and St. Augustine grass, making them a major threat to Florida lawns and landscapes. With over 2 million acres of St. Augustine in Florida alone, homeowners’ associations and businesses spend millions on the application of chemicals and reinstallations of lawns.

Preventing the Pest

You’ve heard the expression a good offense is a good defense, and this couldn’t apply more to pest control. As Chinch bugs have evolved to be the perfect predator to grass, the best way to solve a chinch bug infestation is to never have one in the first place.

Integrated Pest Management is a science which combines biological, cultural, and chemical controls to prevent and control pests. When it comes to our enemy, the Chinch bug, you'll need a multi-faceted approach, and IPM is just that.

  • shutterstock_1680004573Cultural: Proper maintenance practices are one of the best ways to avoid Chinch bugs. Lawns with strong root systems can fend off Chinch bug infestation and resist damage. Regular mowing to proper heights, specialized irrigation schedules, and improved fertilization are all cultural maintenance practices which can prevent Chinch bugs.
  • Chemical: Once you have an infestation, their may be the need to take a chemical approach to your lawn. This should always be done by a licensed professional and alongside a comprehensive integrated pest management plan. Simply “Spraying and Praying” may kill the pests for a while, but without cultural changes they’ll be back soon enough.
  • Biological: While these practices have not been found to be as effective as others, it can still be used in tandem with other control measures to prevent and confront infestations. Introducing natural predators such as the Big-Eyed bug, can allow for the food chain to act as your natural pest control.
    While this method has completely solved pest problems in some cases, it hasn’t had conclusive results with Chinch bug infestations.

If your lawn is suffering from yellowing and brown spots, you may already have a Chinch bug infestation. Have a professional assess your landscape today by contacting Down To Earth Landscape & Irrigation. Our licensed professionals have the experience and resources to tackle your concerns head on. Talk to us today.