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Chinch Bugs

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Posted on: Jul 05, 2023Luis M Pérez

Chinch bugs, or Blissus leucopterus, are tiny insects that can cause significant damage to turfgrass and other plants. These little bugs can quickly become widespread, causing brown patches or dead spots on your lawn or garden. Unfortunately, the damage caused by chinch bugs can be challenging to identify. Even trained professionals make spotting and getting rid of them a bit of a challenge.

The First Step In Getting Rid Of Chinch Bugs

Yellow or brown patches in your lawn – If you start to see yellow or brown patches appearing in your lawn, especially during hot and dry weather, it may be a sign that chinch bugs are present. Chinch bugs are attracted to dry lawns and are active in the summertime. Chinch bugs damage lawns by sucking the juices out of the plants, leaving the lawns looking yellow, dry, and patchy.

Chinch Bugs Can Damage Your Lawn
Chinch Bug Damage

Chinch bugs – These are tiny and difficult to spot. They have black bodies with white wings and are typically around ⅕ of an inch in length. The most common place to look is near the base of grass blades, the thatch layer, or around the edges of lawns.
Drought-like symptoms – They can cause plants to wilt and appear as though they are experiencing drought-like symptoms. You may notice a sunken or wilted appearance in the affected area.
Choosing the right time of day – These insects are most active during the warmest part of the day, typically mid-morning or early afternoon. This is the best time to look for them. 

Controlling Chinch Bugs

Once you have identified chinch bugs, removing them as quickly as possible is important to prevent further damage. Here are some methods for killing these little bugs:

Insecticides – Using insecticides is one of the most effective ways to eliminate chinch bugs. However, you must be careful and read labels carefully before using them. It is important to follow all safety precautions listed on the product. You should use a professional lawn service as they are trained and licensed to apply insecticides.

White Cloth Test – Place a white cloth on the affected area in the lawn and mark the edges with something to hold it in place. Pour soapy water over the area and wait for a few minutes. The chinch bug will float to the water’s surface and cling to the white cloth, making them easier to spot and identify. 

Cultural Management – An effective way to prevent these lawn-damaging bugs is to maintain a healthy lawn. Keeping grass and plants watered, properly fertilized, and mowed at the right height will make your lawn less attractive to chinch bugs and other pests. Since chich bugs are attracted to dry lawns, consistent watering is one of the best things you can do to prevent a problem. Fertilizing and cutting the lawn in the summertime will strengthen the turf, allowing it to naturally fight off a small chinch bug infestation.

In Conclusion

If you start to notice yellow or brown patches in your lawn or garden, it is important to act quickly to prevent further damage from chinch bugs. Look for these tiny black bugs with white wings near the base of grass blades or around the edges of your lawn. Choose the right time of day. Identifying and eliminating chinch bugs protects your lawn and garden from damage and keeps your outdoor areas healthy and vibrant. Call Dr. Green ASAP.

Questions?

For more questions, call our office at 800-465-2934, and we’d be happy to help in any way we can. You can also email Luis Perez at luis@doctorgreen.com.