Protecting Your Lawn from Chinch Bugs is Easy with Keepers of the Green
The problems and blemishes with your grass is frequently not due to a problem above the surface. The reasons for your yard turning brown might be caused by a problem below the surface. Chinch bugs are often the source of the problem. They eat the roots of the grass and kill yards one patch at a time. Keepers of the Green eliminates chinch bug infestations and prevents future chinch bug infestations.
Adult chinch bugs are about 1/5 inch long and are black in color with white wings which fold over their backs. The insect mates early in the season, when temperatures reach 70 or above, which is Florida can be year-round. The female lays eggs on roots, stems, leaf sheaths or crevices in grass nodes or other places where she can find protection. Eggs are laid over several weeks, with each female laying 500+ eggs. Young cinch bugs, which are called nymphs, develop into adults in 4-6 weeks. Nymphs are yellow when they hatch, quickly turning red with a lighter band across their abdomen.
Chinch bugs insert their beak into the luscious St. Augustine grass in your lawn and suck the plant juices right out of the grass. As the chinch bug sucks the juice from the plant, it releases a toxin which causes the grass to become yellow or turn brown altogether. Chinch bugs can leave a gaping brown, dead patch in your yard before your know it.
Southern Chinch Bugs Favor Florida’s Popular St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grass is common in Florida and thoughout the southern United States. St. Augustine grass is especially common in Florida, as it is perfect for the hot Florida climate, Florida’s variable soil types and its ability to tolerate full sun, or moderate shade. Unfortunately, St. Augustine grass lawns are also highly susceptible to the southern cinch bug (Blissus insularis) and cinch bug infestations. In fact, the southern cinch bug is the most damaging insect to St. Augustine grass.
Southern chinch bugs are so prevalent in Florida also because they love the sunshine and rarely attack grass in shady areas, much preferring the sunny parts of your lawn. Discolored areas of your lawn caused by cinch bug feeding that are in open sunlight for much of the day act as “hot spots” for the chinch bug feeding frenzy and ultimately the damage that follows. Most homeowners first notice dead patches of St. Augustine or other grasses along the curb, driveway, sidewalks or other areas close to the heat of cement. Not the case, however, with the brown patches of dead grass solely to blame on the eager chinch bugs. Because chinch bugs have wings and can fly, it is often difficult to keep lawns free of chinch bugs if neighbors are overrun with the pests.
Stopping chinch bug problems before they get out of hand
Experience and skill at identifying chinch bug problems sets us apart from other lawn care companies. Chinch bug problems start in patches with a particular pattern. We identify those patterns forming and take swift action before the rest of your lawn in impaired. The only way to fix the problem is to take action to eradicate the chinch bugs. Re-sodding your yard only leads to the problem coming back again.
Controlling chinch bugs is best left to professionals like Keepers of the Green, since they are highly resistant to insecticides. Chinch bugs have,over the years, become resistant to virtually every pesticide used to control them. They were even resistant to DDT in the 1950’s. Chinch bugs are a hearty pest that have developed the ability to resist not only insecticides, but also overcome host plant resistance, making their ability to devour your lawn even easier. In southern Florida in particular, heavy southern chinch bug infestations have been shown to cause substantial damages to St. Augustine lawns. Chinch bugs can quickly turn an otherwise healthy green lawn into a mass of dead, brown patches of turf that must be replaced.
How do you know if you have chinch bugs?
An easy way to check your lawn for the little pests is to slide your foot through a grassy patch on a sunny day and waiting for the bugs to crawl across your show. Another helpful method of checking for chinch bugs is cutting the ends off of a metal coffee can. Insert one end of the can into the soil near the brown dead area of turf. Do not insert in the most damaged area, rather find an area just outside the perimeter of the most damaged turf, where the chinch bugs have migrated in an effort to find fresh, healthy grass to devour. Once the can end has been inserted firmly into the soil, fill the can with water and wait for 5-6 minutes for cinch bugs to float to the top of the water in the can. If none float to the top of the can in your first attempt, keep moving the can around the perimeter of the brown damaged area and repeat the process until cinch bugs are found. Finding 20 chinch bugs or more in the area is sufficient to warrant an application of insecticide.
This test is also great for identifying mole crickets, as they will also float to the surface of the water in the can. The key when looking for chinch bugs is to check all areas where yellow spots meet green grass. If you have chinch bugs or other pests in your lawn that are causing damage, brown spots, dead patches and rendering your lawn unsightly, contact Keepers of the Green. With more than 20 years of experience, you can trust us to identify your problem areas and provide the professional service you can rely on. Our goal is getting your lawn back to health – pest-free and beautiful!
Combatting chinch bug infestations
Chinch bugs are a problem in Florida all year long. However, they do their worst damage when the weather is hot and dry. Our teams do everything we can to keep your yard thriving and lush, but there are some things you can do to help your yard have its best chances to survive a chinch bug invasion. In addition to using our regular treatments, some of the best practices to make your lawn sustain a chinch bug infestation include:
- Let your lawn reach its maximum recommended height before mowing
- Try not to cut more than 1/3 of the leaf surface at a time
- Keep your lawn well quenched
- Keep the yard aerated
- Call our teams of experts at the first sign of your lawn browning—we will have a team out to your within 48 hours
We get rid of chinch bugs so you don’t have to
We have 9 crews of highly trained outdoor pest control experts operating throughout the bay area. Pest control is more challenging than most would expect—there are specific places and treatments that need to be done keep pests from interfering with the enjoyment of your property. Insects go on to harm the plants around your home causing expensive damage. Our skillful pest control teams know the trade secrets to keep pests away from your yard through the use of our complex blends of granular and liquid treatments.Thatch removal is also key for eliminating the conditions which are optimal for cinch bug survival. Maintaining good moisture increases good fungi, a natural combatant of the chinch bug. For best results, contact Keepers of the Green. Our chinch bug professionals know how to identify the pests and eliminate them safely and effectively.
Count on the Keepers of the Green to get rid of your chinch bug problem
Chinch bugs are a costly problem that can quickly destroy your lawn without proper treatment. At Keepers of the Green, we have been keeping Tampa Bay lawns chinch bug free for more than 25 years. To set up an appointment for a free detailed assessment of your property call 813-884-4255 or contact us online.