Chinch Bug Alert

I’m a firm believer that my job is to reduce your stress, not contribute to it, which is why I rarely sent out an alert like I’m doing today.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen chinch bugs in a few of our customer’s lawns and today’s alert is to make sure everyone knows to be on the lookout in their own lawns.

I like to say anytime we have Biblical weather; record setting hot or cold weather, or this year’s four-day winter, we usually have Biblical type plagues. One year we had crazy amount of crickets, another year we had grasshoppers and yet another year we had a Take All Patch, a fungus that attacked St. Augustine.

It seems that the weird weather becomes a perfect storm for some insect and disease to go crazy and this year’s mild winter seems to be no exception because we are seeing chinch bug damaging St. Augustine in our area.

What makes this strange is that chinch bugs are typically only active in our hot, dry months of July and August. In fact, they like hot conditions so much that they frequently start near concrete sidewalks and driveways because that soil is hotter from the heat radiating from the concrete.

How can you tell if you have chinch bug damage? First, chinch bugs prefer St. Augustine grass and rarely damage Bermuda or zoysia grass. You can spot damage by a patch of brown, usually surrounded by a yellow band. The yellow area is where they are actively feeding and the brown area is the grass they have killed.

If you look closely at the yellow band, you might see the chinch bugs running around – they are slightly larger than a pinhead (note this may take a few minutes of staring at the ground and you probably will spot 10 other insects before you see the chinch bugs.)

What makes this tricky to identify, especially in the late summer, is the chinch bug damage can easily be mistaken for a dry area caused by poor sprinkler coverage.

Make no mistake, chinch bugs can cause significant damage to the lawn if left untreated for a few weeks so if you suspect chinch bug activity it is best to treat the area with products that will control chinch bugs such as Bifenthrin.

If you need help with your lawn or have any other questions give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at [email protected].