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Chinch Bugs

According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Southern chinch bugs can rapidly damage a lawn. The patchy areas of yellowing grass are usually the first indication of chinch bug activity. Uncontrolled chinch bugs will rapidly kill the grass which will begin to appear brown. Homeowners ofter mistake the damage for drought.

Damage

These damaged areas of the grass are generally circular in shape. They expand outward as the insects move from dying grass into healthier grass. These southern insects attack the open sunny areas first. Areas of the lawn that are under drought stress are also a target. Consequently, periods of drought cause elevated chinch bug abundance and damage. The thick thatch areas of the lawn provide refuge from natural enemies and environmental conditions.

Identification

t’s easy to determine if you have chinch bugs. Simply part the grass where the brown damaged lawn meets the green grass. Then look for small insects that are damaging the turf.  

Although adults can fly, they preferentially walk from plant to plant, which also makes them easier to detect. Chinch bugs love the thatch area of the grass. But, when populations are high, you will see them resting on leaf blades or crawling across the lawn. Although these insects are small, there are a few easy methods for detecting them in a lawn.

Some causes for chinch bugs is mowing your grass too short or improper irrigation.  This will dry your lawn out create the perfect condition for chinch bugs to begin their damage. 

Chinch Bug Treatment

When we treat a lawn for these bugs it requires two treatments 14 days apart. This will break the lifecycle of this destructive insect.

Check out our Lawn Treatment Programs for more information. You will also see the different lawn insects in our area and the specific treatment for each.

What’s eating my lawn?

Rich Jones, Host of WOKV’s Morning Show, asks the question and George Richardson responds. George Richardson, Technical Director for Peninsular Pest Control, shows you how to determine if you have chinch bugs or mole crickets in your lawn.

Chinch Bugs or Mole Crickets?

How do you know whether your lawn is being damaged by mole crickets or chinch bugs? It’s actually easy to test for both.

Chinch Bug test

Chinch Bug Treatment

To test your lawn for chinch bugs, simply rake your fingers across the dead grass onto a white paper (or your driveway) and you will see them, if they are present.

These bugs naturally exist in our environment and there are some natural diseases that will keep them at bay. They prefer the moist grass but when the grass dries out, these natural diseases go away and the chinch bug population spikes.

If you don’t see any chinch bugs, it’s easy to do a soap flush test for Mole Crickets.

Mole Cricket test

Just mix 1.5 ounces of liquid dishwashing soap. like Dawn, into 2 gallons of water and sprinkle the mixture over 4 square feet of turf. If two to four crickets appear within three minutes of application, corrective action is justified.

Here’s a quick video to show you how to do it:

Once you have determined what type of insect has invaded your lawn, it’s important to begin treatment immediately. Both insects require a liquid application of insecticide which is applied evenly and thoroughly across the lawn. Mole Crickets require a larger volume of material than the chinch bug but both are treated virtually the same.

Hiring a professional pest control company like Peninsular is usually preferred due to the large amount of product needed, not to mention the time it takes to thoroughly treat the lawn.