The common chinch bug is a common lawn pest that lives and breeds in the thatch area of turf grass. They are known to be severe lawn pests that are found all throughout the United States. As far as lawn pests are concerned, chinch bugs are considered one of the most common species that can be found in the Northeast region of the United States. Although they prefer grasses that are bent, chinch bugs are known to attack many other types of lawn grasses as well. Although chinch bugs are not of any medical harm to animals and people, it is crucial to begin chinch bug control as soon as you see signs of them on your lawn because they can severely ruin the aesthetics of a lawn in just one season.>> Read More
Adult chinch bugs are small insects that are only about 3 to 5 mm in length. They are a black color and have white markings on their wings. The wings rest over their bodies, therefore, when chinch bugs are at rest, it does not look like they possess wings at all. The size of the wings on adults will vary. For instance, some adults will be long-winged insects and others will be short-winged.
Chinch bugs do not undergo a complete metamorphosis. Instead, they molt as they develop and will go through give nymph instars. The size of the nymphs will range from 1 to 3 mm long and the colors of the nymphs will vary between instars as well. When the chinch bugs are in their first two nymph stages, their color is bright red and they possess a white band that goes across their abdomen. As they mature, their color changes from a red to an orange color and begin to show signs of wing development. The last nymph stage is black in color and the wing pads are clearly visible although they are not fully developed.
Adult chinch bugs usually spend the entire winter is a hibernating behavior inside protected areas like in weeds and tall grasses. As the weather becomes warmer in the spring season, the chinch bugs become active and they will begin to migrate towards open grasses. It is during the spring season that the females begin to lay their eggs. The eggs will hatch after about 2 to 3 weeks and it takes about an entire month to 3 months for the chinch bug to fully develop. There are overlapping generations per year and annually, there can be up to 5 generations found in one season.
Most chinch bug damage can be found on turf lawns and places like golf courses or sports fields where large areas of turf grass is available. Many people will begin to notice the most damage during the middle of the summer until early fall when the climates are the driest and hottest.
Chinch bugs possess straw-like mouthparts which are essential in feeding. They insert their mouthparts into the plant tissue and will suck out all the plant juices. While they are feeding, they will also inject chemicals into the plant. The chemicals clog the vascular system of the plants or grasses that they are feeding on. This is what changes the color of the area that is around the punctured spot. Green grasses will begin to fade to yellow and overall, lawns will begin to show patches of dead, yellow grass. Initially, there are just a few spots of yellow and as the chinch bugs travels through the grass, the irregular, yellow patches will begin to spread and grow. Chinch bugs will make the most damage in open and sunny areas of the lawn. Patches of dying or already dead grass on the lawn should alert homeowners that there may be a chinch bug infestation. They do not have any medical significance and are harmless insects to animals and people. However, they are able to ruin entire lawns and will injure such plants such as grasses and corn.
There are several preventative measures a homeowner can take to keep chinch bug infestations from damaging their lawns. One of the most effective preventative measures is to keep the lawn adequately moist throughout the entire summer. Although chinch bugs may be prevalent on the lawn, the grasses are able to tolerate high populations without becoming effected. In addition to keep the amount of water on a lawn at an adequate level, homeowners may want to consider using chemical control during the off season in the areas where the chinch bugs are overwintering. Appropriately labeled insecticides like insect granules or liquid concentrates are usually applied during the months of April till about mid-May to control the overwintering chinch bug adults. This will kill the chinch bugs before the females are able to lay their eggs in the beginning of the season.
All directions must be reviewed on the product label before any pesticide is applied. If you have any questions on what products to use for chinch bug control and how to apply them, feel free to call Pest Mall and talk to a technician at the toll free number 1-800-788-4142.
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