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Chinch Bug Control, Damage and Treatment


By William Dickgraber



The chinch bug is the number one pest of St. Augustine Grass. It will do the most damage to your lawn in a short period of time. If left untreated they will destroy large areas as they multiply. They are found from southern North Carolina south to the Florida Keys, and westward to central Texas. They have also been reported to do damage in southern California, Mexico, and Hawaii. In Florida they begin to appear in May and continue throughout the summer.

Chinch bugs suck the sap out of the roots and the stems of the grass. At first areas infested will begin to turn yellow in color as irregular patches, then turn reddish brown. Blades start to curl up looking grayish and dead, roots die off as they continue sucking out the juices. Chinch bugs work there way through the healthy turf. They love to live in dry sunny areas that have heat or drought stress. They are found in the middle of a lawn or near and along driveways and side walks working outward.

Description And Development:

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 is when they do the most damage and can fly to other locations in the lawn.

Monitoring:

I recommend to inspect your lawn at least once a week during the summer months. Early detection can stop a major infestation from occurring and keeping them under control. Walk sunny areas throughout your yard especially along the edges of pavement where they can begin to do damage. If you notice any signs of a problem get close to the ground and seperate the blades of grass with your hands looking around and under the roots. When exposed to the sun they will run to get out of it and you can see them. In heavy infestations they can be seen crawling over the blades. If you don’t find any chinch bugs it could be a sign of lack of water.

Elimination:

The best way to get rid of them is to treat with a liquid insecticide soaking the area in and around it. Granular does work but needs to be thoroughly watered in right away. Blanket treating your lawn is helpful in controlling them but no guarantee they will not pop up. By monitoring your lawn on a regular basis and knowing how to identify the problem is the best method for control. Following proper lawn maintenance like watering, mowing,and fertilization can reduce the chances of chinch bugs in St. Augustine grass.



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About the Author

William Dickgraber, "Always Lovely Lawn Care"
1300 Gary Dr.
Merritt Island, FL 32952
(321) 698-8939

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