A chinch bug commonly appears around the lawn during the warm season. Then, you may be surprised to see the green grass in the yard suddenly dry and die.
Thus, it looks like you have got an infection from a great number of these tiny black insects. Therefore, have a look at this article to get the best solution for your garden.
Chinch Bug Identification
Chinch bugs are insects that usually live among turfgrass. They suck nutrients from their hosts. The plant will lose moisture so that it dries up and eventually dies.
It is common on many lawns and is almost unavoidable. However, you can minimize the impact by taking various precautions.
Know Your Enemy
The chinch bug is a type of winged insect with a reddish, sometimes black body. Another physical characteristic is the presence of white dots on the back.
When this insect hatches, it comes with an orange color and becomes dark with age. The chinch bugs attack grass and leave a dry impression like being in the dry season.
Further, the adult measures no more than a quarter inch. During the warm season, the insects will mate and put the chinch bug eggs in the thatch of grass, leaf piles, or other possible locations.
Then, the best temperature for their development is between 25 degrees Celsius, where the eggs can hatch in just one week.
Below that, the chances of a chinch bug coming out of the shell can be up to 20-30 days.
The surprising fact is that one brood can incubate up to 200-500 eggs; it triggers a population explosion. Warm weather will support breeding because the number of predators is relatively few.
Signs of Chinch Bugs
Their existence may be difficult to find because of their small size, and you have to use a magnifying glass. However, gardeners can detect the signs of chinch bugs by the pungent odor from the trampled nymph.
Another sign, of course, is the damage left. Grass that dries and dies suddenly in large areas can be a sign of their presence. Besides, you can test it in the following way:
- Prepare a used cylindrical can; discard the bottom and upper parts. Thus you will get it open for both sides.
- Put the can in the area to inspect and immerse. Let it be for about a quarter of the way into the ground.
- Fill the cylinder with water to the brim; let it stand for 10 minutes.
- After that, try to stir the water and see if chinch bugs are floating on the surface.
- If you find more than 15 in the sample, then you need to take quick action.
The maximum limit of the insect population in an area is under 15 per square. If there are more, then you have a chinch bug infestation. Observations under a magnifying glass may be surprising.
The Chinch Bug Damage
The chinch bug likes some types of grasses such as bentgrass, bermudagrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and various grasses in the yard.
This insect eats by injecting poison into the plant’s blades so that it becomes dry out.
Since chinch bugs are fast-growing, life activities can cause significant damage. The grass will dry up and die from the loss of nutrients.
Therefore, the grass looks like it does not get enough water in the dry season.
In addition, the abundance of insects on turfgrass can also create an unpleasant odor. The nymphs that are jostled or stepped on may die and leave behind a smelly liquid.
Hence, you might have had severe infestations.
Chinch Bug Treatments
Regardless of whether your land has had an infestation or you’re still in the prevention process, chinch bug treatments should always be a must. Keeping your turfgrass healthy is necessary.
How to Get Rid of Chinch Bug
When you get an infestation, the turfgrass will lose its beauty due to the appearance of dry grass. But you can use various chinch bug killer products according to your needs. Here are some of them.
If you want to use an environmentally friendly alternative, placing natural predators is a wise move. There is no need to catch them in the wild because you can buy commercial products at plant supply stores.
For this need, ladybugs and lacewings are the most appropriate choices. They will prey on the chinch bugs and reduce their population.
But you need to determine the number of predators, not too many or too few.
Use the Broad-Spectrum Pesticide
If you do a test and find that the pest population is more than 15-20 per square, you can start using pesticides.
Various products can deal with chinch bugs, such as BioAdvanced. It becomes a complete insect killer for turf and soil.
You can also choose various other products that suit your needs. This pesticide also eradicates other pests in your area but risks eliminating the good predators in it.
The use of any product must not harm the soil and the surrounding ecosystem. Thus, using chemical-free things is a rule.
In addition to natural predators, another option is to use diatomaceous earth (DE). This product kills parasites in the body of livestock by mixing them into food. The effect is fast to eradicate insects.
To get rid of chinch bugs, you can spread them on the areas that have infestations or mix them with water first. Affected insects will experience behavioral changes, become dehydrated, and then die.
If you look under a microscope, DE contains microscopic particles that are razor-sharp and attack organisms. Its use will be very effective within a few days, with minimal risk of environmental damage.
Unfortunately, this product may not be effective on eggs. If you are late to tackle, you will inevitably have to wait until all of them have hatched to give DE to the infestation area.
If you want to use products other than DE, other options are Neem oil or horticultural soap. Both are effective against insects with a minimum of residue.
Do the Reseed
Chinch bug problems may be hard to overcome if the thatch gets infestation to a severe degree. Therefore, after cleaning the area, you should replant the grass in your yard at the right time.
If you used chemicals before, then do not plant the seeds right away. Wait until you finish doing the second treatment after all pests have gone.
If you use pesticides, you may be able to do the seed right away. Before spreading grass seeds, do not forget to do a follow-up inspection. Make sure there are no pests left.
Preventing the Chinch Bug Infestation
We never know when pests will come to attack. Therefore, we must always be vigilant and take preventive measures to solve problems, including chinch bugs.
Monitoring and maintenance should be routine for gardeners. If you do it from the start, you may avoid severe damage that is detrimental, both in terms of finances and energy, and time.
These handy techniques will help you to prevent infestation.
Mowing the Grass the Right Way
How to cut the grass was also very influential on resistance. The plants must be of the ideal length to defend against chinch bugs. Therefore, do not cut more than a third of the blade.
If you cut the grass blade more than you should, the structure will be weak and become easier for infestations.
In addition, you should also pay attention to mowing time only once a week so that the grass remains in vigorous condition.
Dethatching the Lawn
Thatch will be the perfect environment for chinch bugs. The thick layer between the live and dead grass can hinder the performance of insecticides and must get treatment with dethatching.
The method is easy as you can use various ways, for example, by using a rake or verticutter machine. Also, take this layer by mowing but not too often because it can reduce the strength of the grass.
If you have been getting chinch bug attacks for at least the past year, then you will likely need to do more than dethatching and mowing. For really severe problems, you can use insecticides.
Fortunately, today’s gardening technology is advanced enough to fight a wide variety of pests. You can get a variety of products to repel chinch bugs at shops that sell plant supplies.
Do not forget to choose the most environmentally friendly products. Importantly, insecticides should not harm nature.
Maintaining Plant Health
There is no better way to ward off pests than to ensure that the plants are truly healthy. Follow these methods to improve the endurance of the growers so that they are not easily under attack.
- Mow regularly and make sure the grass is never more than 2.5 inches long.
- Keep the acidity of the soil to remain stable. You can use fertilizer or other possible products.
- Regular watering is important without overdoing it. Land that is too moist will also invite pests.
- Do regular inspections to know for sure the condition of your garden.
The chinch bug is one of the most annoying insects. Since this pest can multiply quickly and damage the grass, you need to take quick action before it is too late.