Every summer, Florida property owners are stunned to encounter brown, neglected-looking patches in their otherwise verdant lawns. These patches are probably caused by chinch bugs.
In this article, we’ll look at what chinch bugs are and how to determine if you have a chinch bug infestation. We’ll also look at chinch bug lawn damage, prevention, repair, and the all-in-one solution Green 365 offers.
What are chinch bugs?
Chinch bugs are insects that hatch as nymphs without wings and then gradually grow into winged adults. The tiny adult bugs are about a quarter-inch long. They’re black and white with whitish wings marked by a dark triangle on the outer margins.
As young nymphs, chinch bugs are bright red and have a white band across the back. Both adults and nymphs give off a strong odor that’s most easily detected when they’re crushed underfoot.
Chinch bugs inflict the most damage on lawns as nymphs. They damage lawns by using their piercing mouthparts to suck moisture from grass blades. Their saliva poisons the grass blades and interrupts water movement within the grass.
Chinch bug lawn damage
In the early stages of chinch bug lawn damage, your grass will begin to turn yellow. After that, the grass will turn brown and die. The rapidly-expanding population of chinch bugs feeds as a group. Once it’s destroyed one section of grass, it will move to the perimeter.
What might start off as a small patch of dead grass may quickly spread to cover a large area of your lawn. A relocating chinch bug population can devastate over 400 feet of grass in under an hour.
At first, you might confuse chinch bug lawn damage with a drought problem. However, you can rule out drought damage if your grass doesn’t green up after you’ve watered it.
Identifying a chinch bug infestation
Heavy chinch bug infestations are easy to spot. You may see the bugs running over grass blades or even crossing the pavement as a group. However, identifying a chinch bug infestation isn’t always that clear-cut. Here are a couple of DIY ways to check for chinch bugs.
First, part the grass in your yellowed lawn areas and inspect the soil surface and thatch. Bring a magnifying glass—remember, these insects are tiny.
A more user-friendly way to test for chinch bugs is the flotation method. For this method, you’ll need a metal coffee can or a tin can. Remove the top and bottom of the can and insert it three inches into the soil in your yellowed lawn area. Fill three-quarters of the can with water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. After that, stir up the water. If you have chinch bugs, they’ll float to the surface.
Pest control for chinch bugs
Once you’ve determined you have a chinch bug infestation, look into chemical treatment, which is the quickest way to get rid of the pests. At Green 365, we have the expertise and experience to eradicate chinch bugs in the safest, most environmentally friendly way possible. We’re not happy until you are, so if it takes more than one treatment to get rid of your chinch bugs, we’ll come back until they’re gone.
Chinch bug lawn damage prevention and repair
When it comes to chinch bugs, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. Managing chinch bugs begins with proper lawn care.
One best practice for maintaining low chinch bug numbers is by keeping thatch to a minimum. Thatch is the layer of dead plant material between the green tops of grass blades and the soil below. It shelters chinch bugs and soaks up many insecticides, rendering chemical control less effective.
Excessive thatch forms when soil microbes can’t break down dead plant material as quickly as it’s added. This can occur when the grass is mowed less than once a week during the growing season. If the thatch in your lawn is more than one inch thick, it might be a good time to get your lawn “vertically mowed.”
Vertical mowing is a method of removing thatch that can temporarily make your lawn look worse. It destroys the tightly woven stolon system of St. Augustine grass. To make sure your lawn recovers in good time, only undertake a vertical mowing project during the growing season.
Applying too much fertilizer also contributes to thatch formation and makes the grass more attractive to chinch bugs. St. Augustine grass only needs 3-4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in sunny spots and no more than two pounds in shady spots.
Partner with Green 365 for all-in-one eco-friendly lawn solutions
Green 365 is a full-service lawn fertilization and pest control company that offers customized treatment options for your lawn and home. All yards, homes, and clients are unique, so we tailor our services to your specifications.
You take pride in having a beautiful lawn, and you don’t want it destroyed by insects or weeds. We don’t want to see your yard destroyed, either! To prevent that, we keep close tabs on all the lawns under our care. That helps us to take customized preventative measures to eradicate chinch bugs, mole crickets, aphids, and other common Florida pests.
At Green 365, we use effective people- and pet-safe fertilizers. Our naturally-based proven bioremediation products and services for your lawn and shrubs are friendly for your home environment and our waterways. You’ll get the lush-looking lawn you want, without any of the carcinogenic, polluting chemicals that can be harmful to you and the environment.
In addition to pest control, we also take care of weeds. With Green 365’s Weed and Insect Control program, we’ll start by assessing the weed and insect issues affecting your lawn. From crabgrass to dandelions, and from aphids to chinch bugs, Green 365 Lawn & Pest Solutions, LLC is your key to maintaining a well-kept lawn all year long. For more information, please get in touch with us by clicking here.
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