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How To Kill Chinch Bugs In My Lawn

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Description And Development Of The Chinch Bug

How to Get Rid of Chinch Bugs (4 Easy Steps)

Chinch bugs lay their eggs and hatch in as little as one week during the summer. First they appear as bright orange in the Nymph stage, turning dark red as they begin to mature. When fully matured reaching the adult stage they are one fifth of an inch in length, black with white wings on their back. During this stage with no chinch bug, insect control they will do the most damage, and can fly to other locations in the lawn.

Chinch Bug Life Cycle

The chinch bug lays over 250 eggs during her lifetime, which is about 4 eggs per day. Females will deposit her eggs on St. Augustine grass near where the blade of grass touches the soil.

Eggs hatch in the warmer, summer months in about two weeks with an incubation period of just about 12 days. Depending on the water, this process can be expedited or slowed.

When the eggs hatch, the nymphs look like a smaller wingless adult. Theyre yellowish and will be changed to reddish with a pale white stripe across the abdomen and eventually fade to black with a white band as the chinch bugs grow.

Adults have a body length of about 6mm with white wings and a black spot on the forewings. There are long-winded and short-winged forms of chinch bugs.

How Can I Get Rid Of Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs like poorly tended lawns with compacted soils, accumulations of thatch, and a lack of moisture or an excess of nitrogen. Maintaining your lawn properly will discourage infestations and improve tolerance to damage. Some helpful practices include the following:

  • If replanting grass, choose an insect-resistant, endophytic variety of tall fescue or rye grass .
  • Aerate the lawn in spring to reduce soil compaction.
  • Remove thick layers of thatch in the fall. Keep in mind that some thatch may be needed to prevent winterkill in cold regions.
  • Do not over-fertilize, since this will encourage greater insect activity.
  • Use water-insoluble or slow-release nitrogen fertilizers. Using 1 kg of nitrogen per 100 m2 should be enough for most lawns.
  • Water the lawn thoroughly during the summer.
  • Keep soil moist to a depth of 6 to 8 cm .
  • Do not cut the grass too short. A length of 6 to 7.5 cm will help avoid stressing the grass.
  • Add agricultural limestone when the soil pH is below 6.5.

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Why Systemics Are Better For Lawn Care Than Pyrethroids

While pyrethroids or contact insecticides work for chinch bug control you have to make an application come back in a week inspect for chinch bugs and nymphs and re spray if you find any, come back in a week and do it again. This is the only way you can be sure you got control and then for how long. In addition to that chinch bugs are now resistant to many pyrethroids.

Systemics targets the chinch bug directly and indirectly, it acts as contact when the chinch bug come in contact with the insecticide but gives you long term control of nymphs and adult because it enter the plants vascular system through the roots. When a cinch bug is born it will have to feed on the plant which is contaminated with the pesticide, when it feeds that is its last meal. End of story.

With systemics you get long term control and quick knock down. In the past 6 years since we have used systemics we only get an average of 2 call backs per route per year.

We apply it every 2 months at the mid dose range. I put no trust in any product I trust in my knowledge, experience and expertise. I inspect, monitor and repeat to ensure the products are working.

We use and recommend Dominion 2L why because it works as well as any brand name systemic at a lower cost.

One 27.5 bottle is enough to treat 55,000 square feet at the mid level dose.

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How To Get Rid Of Chinch Bugs Easily And Naturally

Chinch Bugs

Photo Credit: Internet Archive Book Images

As small as they are, chinch bugs can do widespread damage to your lawn by leaving mottled brownish-yellowish patches in otherwise healthy grass. These 1/4-inch, black and white insects are particularly common in the Southern United States, where they thrive in sunny, dry sections of the lawn. Because they work fast its important to take action as soon as you notice them. Heres how to get rid of chinch bugs easily and naturally.

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Try Organic Insecticides Instead

Organic remedies for lawns and gardens are safe, proven, and effective. We have researched several products that help deal with chinch bugs organically, and these are listed below:

  • Spot treat small infestations with Safer Soap. Approved for organic use, it penetrates the protective outer shell of insect pests and causes dehydration and death within hours.
  • Broadcast EcoSMART Insect Killer Granulesover lawns and landscapes to eliminate or repel all kinds of troublesome pests.
  • BotaniGard ESis a highly effective biological insecticide containing Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic fungus that attacks a long-list of troublesome crop pestseven resistant strains! Weekly applications can prevent insect population explosions and provide protection equal to or better than conventional chemical pesticides.
  • Least-toxic botanical insecticidesshould be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.
  • How To Identify A Chinch Bug Infestation

    Chinch bug infestations can be worsened if dry weather lingers for multiple weeks. Augustine lawns are even more at-risk for infestation during a drought, which increase risks for lawn death.

    Like many other lawn pests, chinch bugs target unhealthy grass suffering from underlying concerns. This may include drought damage, insect damage, or the activity of other pests. In any case, it is important to keep a close eye on the pest populations in your lawn.

    Truthfully, the best way to identify a chinch bug infestation in your lawn is with a float test.

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    How To Prevent Chinch Bugs From Coming Back

    There are four lawn management best practices that will keep chinch bugs from turning up in your lawn again:

  • Ample watering. Chinch bugs prefer hot, dry conditions, so irrigate your lawn at least one inch a week during arid periods.

  • Chinch bug-resistant turf grass.Perennial ryegrass, fine fescues and tall fescues are highly resistant to chinch bugs, Wagner says.

  • Dethatching. Chinch bugs overwinter in the thatch layer of your lawn, so dethatch your lawn regularly to destroy hibernation sites or locations where eggs and nymphs may live.

  • Keep grass long. Mow your lawn to about 2-1/2-inches to reduce stress on the grass.
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    The Life Cycle Of The Southern Chinch Bug

    How to Get Rid of Chinch Bugs and Grubs (4 Easy Steps)

    An adult female chinch bug can deposit over 250 eggs on average in her lifecycle, she may lay as little as 4 eggs per day, but she will oviposit for many continuous weeks.

    Female chinch bugs deposit there eggs in St. Augustine grass close to where the plant contacts the dirt.

    During the summer months the eggs will hatch in 6 to 13 days, with the average period of incubation being 11 days. This process may last a month or more during the winter months.

    The newly emerged southern chinch bug nymphs resemble smaller, wingless adults. In the first nymphal instar is yellow. The color changes to red with a pale white band across the abdomen and finally to black with a similar white band as the insect progresses through the five nymphal instars that the chinch bug goes through.

    The adult southern chinch bug has a black body the wings are white with a black spot on the margins of the forewings.

    There are two forms of southern chinch bug the long-winged form and the short-winged form.

    The length of the adult chinch bug life span differ significantly with averages ranging from 10 to 70 days.

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    Avoid Using Fertilizers Excessively

    Apply the right amount of fertilizer. Excessive fertilizer use also promotes the growth of thatch and makes grass more appealing to chinch bugs as a food source.

    So use a slow-release formula during the summers, or use small amounts of fertilizer when needed.

    You can improve soil conditions by top-dressing with organic matter such as compost or well-aged animal manure.

    How Do Chinch Bugs Spread

    As a chinch bug population grows, the bugs naturally expand their range as they look for new grass blades and stems to feed on.

    Adult chinch bugs have wings and can fly, but much of the time they walk over and through your lawn.

    When adult female chinch bugs lay their eggs in summer, they look for a safe place in the grass. When these eggs hatch, the offspring will head to healthy grass to begin feeding.

    You may also see chinch bugs walking across driveways and sidewalks as they search for food and for overwintering sites.

    Chinch bugs that overwinter will usually stay in your lawn, protected by thatch. They may also find another sheltered place, such as under evergreen shrubs and around your homes foundation. They will emerge in spring and look for food .

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    How Do I Know If I Have A Problem

    There are several ways to confirm an infestation:

    • Chinch bugs give off an offensive odour when crushed. If your lawn has a noticeable odour when walked on, you could have a large infestation.
    • Spread the grass and check the soil surface for red nymphs or black adult chinch bugs. These bugs avoid the light and may hide in soil crevices.
    • Use this method in cases where the bugs are not readily visible:
    • Cut the bottom out of a coffee can or large juice can and force it 5 cm into the turf surface.
    • Fill the can with soapy water, adding more water if the level recedes.
    • Wait five to 10 minutes. If you have chinch bugs, they will float to the top of the can.
    • Try this in several areas of the lawn, including lawn edges. If there are five to 10 chinch bugs per can, the infestation is serious enough to damage turf.

    Healthy turf should be able to tolerate a level of two or three bugs per can. However, turf that is in poor condition or stressed by hot, dry weather may not tolerate even a low-level infestation.

    How Do Chinch Bugs Reproduce


    Chinch bugs are polyphagous so they can survive on a wide variety of foods.

    They usually breed in warm, moist environments such as gardens, flower beds, and compost piles. They prefer to live near human dwellings because these areas provide plenty of food and shelter.

    During the spring and summer seasons, chinch bugs lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, stems, and sometimes flowers. These eggs hatch within two weeks. After hatching, the nymphs begin eating the plant material. They continue to eat until they reach maturity. At this point, they drop off the plant and crawl into nearby soil to pupate.

    When the chinch bugs hatch from eggs, they dont have wings. After they develop wings, they become adults. Adults can be identified by the presence of wings.

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    How To Kill Chinch Bugs Before They Destroy Your Lawn

    The silent killers from the East have unfortunately found their way to the West. The hairy, black, white and orange spotted insect known as the chinch bug has arrived and theyre not the type of visitors you want lingering. Chinch bugs become more active and start becoming a problem in June and persist greatly into July and August as the temperatures start increasing and rain is less frequent. Once active, lawns can be completely destroyed within a matter of weeks to the point where repairs arent possible, and a complete re-sodding / landscaping must take place.

    This blog will help us catch and deal with these bugs before they deliver a punch that most Canadians consider to be unrecoverable financially. Chinch bugs unfortunately do not die in the winter just from the cold. They freeze and hibernate during the cold months and thaw and come back to life like Han Solo from Star Wars once things warm up. Naturally, because of this we need to take matters into our own hands to control chinch bugs on your lawn.

    How To Avoid Chinch Bug Lawn Damage

    May 1, 2021 | Chinch Bugs

    Chinch bugs attack only one type of lawn, and thats St. Augustine grass, the most common turf used in our area. In many parts of Florida, controlling chinch bugs is a year round effort. For Northern Florida, chinch bugs are most common March November when warm, sunny conditions increases chinch bug activity.

    Since chinch bugs feed on and kill the grass, a homeowners first sign of chinch bugs is usually the appearance of round yellow or dying patches of grass in their lawn. As their host plant dies, chinch bugs move to neighboring grass plants to continue feeding creating dead patches that get larger over time. How fast the dead patches grow depends on the chinch bug infestation and overall health of the lawn.

    Chinch bug damage may occur in open, sunny areas near sidewalks and driveways, but also in the middle of lawns. The damage is often confused with drought or frost stress. Other factors, such as disease, nematodes, nutritional imbalances, and drought can cause off-color areas to occur in lawns. Thus, the grass should be carefully examined to determine which corrective measures may be needed.

    Controlling chinch bug populations begins by properly mowing your lawn and minimizing the amount of thatch. During grass growing season, mow your lawn weekly with a sharp lawnmower blade. If the thatch becomes too think speak with your lawn care service about having your lawn aerated.

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    Prevention With Healthy Lawn Care Practices

    A healthy lawn will withstand some chinch bugs feeding. Healthy lawn care practices such as aerating, proper fertilizing, mowing high, de-thatching and overseeding with a mix of grasses will help you maintain a vigorous lawn. Fescues or perennial ryegrass , are more resistant to chinch bugs damage. The most resistant are the perennial rye grass varieties Repel and Citation II. The endophyte fungus is gradually lost, hence the seed should be sown within 9 months of the test date on the package. Throughout the dry spells, water deeply 1 once per week to avoid the dry conditions which chinch bugs prefer. Water when the risk of evaporation is lowest early morning is best. Place a tuna can under your sprinkler. Time how long it takes to fill it. Then you will know how long it takes your sprinkler to distribute 1 inch of water over your lawn. This will help conserve water and not drown your lawn.

    What If Theyre In My House

    How to detect and kill chinch bugs in the lawn

    Chinch bugs dont really infest the house unless theyre just stray and wandering around.

    Typically, they can be tracked into the home if you have pets or kids walking on the lawn and then carrying them into your house. They wont naturally go into your home and infect it for no reason.

    Theres no lawn there, and theres no thatch. Even if you have a ton of indoor plants, as long as theyre not grassy types, you should have no problem with chinch bugs in your home. Unless you have plants like cat grass or wheatgrass, you should have chinch bug problems.

    Theyre likely just lost souls that someone found their way right into your home. Just eliminate them and be sure youre not tracking them in somehow. Also, check your kids and pets, and be sure to check the shoes, clothing, and anything else that can be used as a vessel for bug transportation.

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    How To Prevent Damage From Chinch Bugs

    To prevent these pesky bugs from feeding on your lawn, there are a few simple things you can do. An essential rule of thumb is to keep your lawn healthy. Actively growing lawns are better able to withstand weeds and lawn insects than lawns that are weak or slow-growing. Working with a professional to provide your yard with proper lawn maintenance, watering, nutrition, and weed control will help your lawn thrive against chinch bugs and other pests.

    Other tips to keeping chinch bugs out of your lawn

    • Only cut one-third of your grass blade when mowing

    Cutting more than one-third of the grass blade stresses your lawn. When your lawn is stressed, it weakens and makes it more prone to future infestations.

    • Resod the bare spots from chinch bug damage

    Once all the chinch bugs have been removed, sod the killed patches of grass. If youre using a two-application chemical treatment, you can resod immediately after the initial dose of pesticide.

    Use Dish Soap To Kill Chinch Bugs

    Using dish soap as an insecticide is a great way to kill chinch bugs in your lawn. The reason why we recommend this method is because insecticides are harmful to pets and children.

    To use the dish soap method, you need to follow the following steps:

    • Get a cup of water, one tablespoon of dish soap, and one tablespoon of vegetable oil. You can also add baking soda for extra strength.?
    • Get a large bowl.?
    • Gently mix all the materials. Remember not to stir the solution as it will make the solution bubbly and harder to spray. ?
    • Put the mixture into a spray bottle.?
    • Spray this DIY dish soap mixture across all the infested areas in your lawn.?

    When using this dish soap mixture, keep in mind not to spray it directly on your plants as it can be harmful to some. Spray on the areas that are infested and avoid sensitive plants.

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