Chinch bugs can usually be found in the St. Augustine grass and occasionally in Bahia, Zoysia, or centipede grasses. An infestation of chinch bugs normally takes place in the dry or hot months. Indication of an infestation of chinch bugs usually includes a halo of grass that is yellowing surrounding dead grass patches.
Such patches are often seen on the sections of the lawn in your garden that are fully exposed to the sun. The infestation of chinch bugs is oftentimes confused with drought or brown patch. The lawn should be examined to see if there is a significant amount of insects in order to determine if chinch bugs are the problem.
Chinch Bug Identification
Chinch bugs have black bodies and are 1/6” to 1/5” in length. Their wings are white and have black triangles on them. However, the nymphs have no wings and they have a pinkish or yellow color with light-colored bands on their backs. When checking for lawn bugs, you should run your feel through the areas of sod where the green grass is met by the yellow grass and see if the bugs come out on your shoes.
Chinch Bug Prevention
You can keep Cinch bugs away from your lawn by taking proper care of it. Look for thatch signs on your lawn, that is, layers of dead plant found below the grass’ surface. You can get rid of excess thatch by using specially made machines to mow them away. These machines may be rented. Thatch can also be removed by aerating the lawn with machines that bore holes in the ground to increase the penetration of water and air. These machines are also available for rental and you can also get a lawn company to perform both services.
Adequately watering your lawn can increase its tolerance to the damage caused by insects as well as increase the growth of fungi which attacks cinch bugs. It is also recommended that you use fertilizers which are low in nitrogen and have less than 5 pounds of nitrogen for every 1 thousand square feet every year in areas that are sunny or two pounds for each 1 thousand square feet in areas that are shaded.
When Chinch bugs cause visible damage too your lawn, it becomes necessary to apply pesticides. Granular insecticides which have acephate, diazinon, or chlorpyrifos should be applied with dry fertilizer spreaders.
After the application, the lawn should be watered using 1/8” – 1/4” of water in order for the granules to dissolve. Granules that may have fallen on the driveway or sidewalk should be swept away so that they do not dissolve and wash into streams or storm drains.
A hose which applies 15-20 gallons of water to every 1 thousand square feet of the lawn can be used to apply liquid insecticide. The penetration of the liquid insecticide can be improved by having the lawn watered prior to applying it. However, you should not have it watered right after applying the product.
Precautions and Safety
The packages of insecticide sued for treating Chinch bug infestations have precautions which you should follow always. Protective clothes such as socks, shoes, or long pants should be worn. Gloves should also be worn whenever you are mixing a liquid insecticide. Pets and people should be kept off the lawn after it is treated until it is completely dry.