It might be more than an issue in the irrigation system if you notice uneven swaths of yellowed or dead grass on the lawn. It’s possible that you have chinch bugs in your garden. And these insects thrive across the USA, inflicting considerable damage to the turfgrasses in some cases, particularly during the dry, hot weather. Chemical insecticides are one method to remove chinch bugs, and however, this strategy also eliminates the natural predators of the chinch bugs. Organic solutions, on the other hand, avoid re-infestation while also protecting your lawn’s fragile ecosystem. To keep your lawn out of the insects for long periods, follow up with appropriate preventative measures.
What Are Chinch Bugs?
Chinch bugs are insects that can be found in turfgrass. Yes, these insects are considered pests because it destroys everything in its path. If you have a well-manicured lawn and chinch bugs attack, there will be severe damage to your grass. Once the bugs attack it, the lawn will have to be reseeded and treated so that grass can grow.
These bugs are sometimes hard to spot since they are tiny to the naked eye. The most distinguishing feature of a chinch bug, though, is its awful stench. These pests release this sickening odor, especially when stepped on. If you have a group of these bugs on your lawn, you will have that unpleasant smell that does not just go away. Good thing that this can be prevented naturally.
How To Identify Chinch Bugs
Chinch bugs are very tiny, and as adults, they are only a fifth of an inch long. Their bodies are oval-shaped, with two antennas, six legs, two wings that overlap, and a mouth that can pierce through the toughest grass. An adult chinch bug is black with white overlapping wings which has a triangle shape on it. Its legs, though, are light brown.
Young chinch bugs are bright orange, and it gets dark brown to black, as they grow into adults. Chinch bugs can be found in Southern parts of the United States.
Do Chinch Bugs Bite?
These insects are very small and may do so much damage to your lawn, but on humans, they are harmless. Chinch bugs can eat the grass by sucking its juices. This will cause the wilting of the grass.
Medically, their bite will not cause anything on people. They might attempt to bite your hair but will realize it is not grass and fly away.
How Do Chinch Bugs Spread?
Lawns that are damaged by chinch bugs are sometimes mistaken as lawns undergoing drought. Their mouth pierces through even the toughest grass, and when it does, the bite is deadly for the lawn. It sucks out the moisture of the grass and its blades. Afterward, when all is dry, the chinch bugs release poison on the grass blades. This poison disrupts the water processing of the grass, and this is the beginning of its slow death.
One may be able to recognize an infestation of chinch bugs. A small patch of “dry grass,” usually brown, which is also considered dead grass, will quickly spread and become a massive patch. Its expansion is outwards and will not stop until all have withered. It will never turn green again, even if you water it. This dead lawn requires treatment by experts if it can still be saved.
Damage Caused By Chinch Bugs
When the infestation is still “new,” the first sign is yellowish grass. Not long after, the grass will create a brown patch. If the patch spreads, the original one has died, and the bugs move outward to “kill” more of the lawn. There will be dead grass patches all over your lawn if you let it spread. It needs to be stopped at the sight of the first patch.
You can also check the damage of chinch bugs by walking or stepping on the grass. If there are many live bugs in the area, you are stepping on, and then the bugs are doing their mouth-piercing-on-the-grass thing. If the patch is dead, this is a big problem. This has to be prevented before it causes further damage.
You may want to do the “float test” to ensure that your brown patch is just lacking moisture and watering or if chinch bugs have attacked the area.
- You will need a coffee can. Take the lids off the can, top, and bottom as well.
- In a winding motion, push down the can on the ground.
- Pour water into the can and fill it up.
- Wait for a few minutes.
- If chinch bugs float, then you have an infestation. If there are no bugs, you have to water your grass more often since it is very dry.
- You must repeat the same process on the dry patches of your lawn.
Also Read: How to Get Rid of Bugs On Hibiscus Naturally
How To Prevent Chinch Bugs
These chinch bugs find dry areas very appealing. If you do not maintain your lawn nicely, they will attack it. Regular watering of the lawn is necessary. Do not overwater, though. It just has to be right, not much nor too little. If small patches start to show, treat it with insecticide as per package instructions to avoid further damage.
Here are more tips to prevent infestation:
- Do not use fertilizer in excess.
- Regularly and accordingly, mow your lawn.
- Lessen nitrogen application in your turfgrass.
- Keep it well irrigated.
- Let ants and other bugs kill these chinch pests.
- If you see yellow patches, do the float test. If it is a chinch bug infestation, then treat it immediately.
How To Eliminate Chinch Bugs Naturally
There are many methods to remove chinch bugs naturally:
- Choose a soil and turf pesticide to treat your lawn. Make sure you follow the pesticide instructions to the tee. The first application will not kill the eggs. A few weeks after your first pesticide treatment, apply another layer. This will prevent the eggs from developing, up to three months.
- Diatomaceous earth (DE) is razor-sharp that will kill any parasite that comes to contact with it. This is chemical-free and environmental-friendly too. Once ingested by a buy, the particles will cut through its inner organs and cause death. DE can also cause dehydration and then, the bugs will die.
- Reseed the patches on your lawn. It has to be a healthy turf.
- During springtime, hire a landscaping expert to dethatch your lawn, or you can DIY.
- Leave 1/3 of your grass after mowing. This is the best length for your lawn grass to avoid infestations.
- Healthy laws and well-cared-for grass will lessen the chances of having chinch bug attacks.
Like all pests and bugs, if the lawn is healthy and adequately managed, chinch bugs will unlikely attack it. But if you neglect your lawn, keep it dry for longer periods, then bugs will infest the area patch by patch. If you see a yellowish to brownish patch, do the float test. If there are bugs, get rid of them immediately. It will damage your whole lawn if you ignore it.