Chinch bugs are some of the most troublesome lawn pests in North America. Here in Maryland, the hairy chinch bug is the most common variety. These tiny insects are less than ¼” long, and are characterized by the black and white stripes that run across their bodies. Because they’re so small, however, you’re unlikely to actually spot them in your lawn. What you will see is the damage they leave behind.
Chinch bugs have syringe-like mouths designed to inject grasses with toxins and drain their nutrients. A full-blown chinch bug infestation will leave brown patchy spots scattered throughout your lawn. During dry periods of the growing season, chinch bug damage can be easily mistaken for drought damage. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to find out for sure whether or not your lawn has fallen prey to chinch bugs.
Start by finding a tin can, and cutting both ends off so it’s an open cylinder. Push one end of the can into the soil in your lawn and fill it with water. Now wait about ten minutes. If your lawn has chinch bugs, you should see them start to float to the top of the water and settle in the middle of the can. You may also see some juvenile chinch bugs, which are red rather than black and white.
To combat a chinch bug infestation, you may have to try a few different treatment options. Because chinch bugs are so widespread in North America, they’ve become resistant to some insecticidal chemicals. Many people have good luck with Talstar, which is a water-based insecticide that’s relatively safe for use around pets.
Want to learn more about pest control or any of the other lawn maintenance services available at VistaPro? Give us a call today for a consultation!