We are approaching the finish line of the summer season, a time period when chinch bugs set out to deliver destruction to many homeowner’s lawns.
In mid- to late-summer this destructive insect pest feasts on St. Augustine and zoysia grasses. When is the most effective time of year to treat? The answer… the moment you determine their presence in your lawn.
"Damage can occur quickly extending over an entire lawn within days if not treated in a timely manner"
In the early stages of chinch bug damage grass may look yellow, resembling drought or brown patch. This is due to the way the insects feed, removing water and nutrients from the plant itself. If after watering your lawn early morning or late evening and grass doesn’t green up, you may need to give your local PMP a call to inspect your lawn and professionally treat for chinch bugs. Damage can occur quickly extending over an entire lawn within days if not treated in a timely manner.
Adult chinch bugs are 3/16 inches long with black bodies and small frosty-white wings adorned with a singular distinctive triangular black mark near the wing’s edge. Juvenile forms of chinch bugs (nymphs) appear orange red with a pale white stripe on their abdomen. Both the nymph and adult chinch bugs possess sucking-style mouthparts. They first attack the base of St. Augustine grass plants, sucking moisture from grass blades to make matters worse, they feed in groups so severe damage is likely to occur before they move to a healthy area. Indicators of chinch bug damage are yellow blades in areas where full sun exposure is received and along water-stressed edges.
Proper diagnosis is the most important step in managing a pest problem and chinch bugs are no different. Determining the cause of the damage is simple; perform a float test. To do this, take a large cylindrical container (such as a coffee can) and cut off the bottom. Insert the can into the soil so the bottom of the can is about 3 inches below the surface of the soil. Fill the can with water, slowly for about 3-5 minutes. Chinch bugs trapped in the soil will float to the top of the water and can be collected to confirm identification.
One of the factors that makes southern chinch bugs particularly difficult to control is their high reproductive potential and short generation time. Application timing is key to success.
Technical Services Manager PCO Product Development