Throughout August we have been seeing quite a few different lawns with chinch bug activity.  These tiny insects can cause extensive damage to the lawn when they feed on grass.  If your lawn appears to be struggling even with regular watering, chinch bugs could possibly be the cause:

What are they?

Chinch bugs are very small insects, with adults just 1/6” to 1/5” long.  Young chinch bugs are red with white stripes, wingless, and typically cause the most damage.  Adults have black bodies, a white triangular marking, and may or may not have wings.

What do they do?

Chinch bugs attack the grass plant by piercing the blade, extracting juice, and leaving in it a small amount of toxin that make it difficult for the grass to recover.  This results in patches that turn yellow and often start to die off completely.  Damage can start in late spring and continue until October, but is typically is most identifiable in mid-summer, when the weather is more hot and dry.

How do you find them?

You can get a better idea of whether or not your lawn damage is due to chinch bugs by taking a close look at the lawn.   The best time to inspect for chinch bugs is in the afternoon, when they are most active in the heat of the day.  Examine the healthy grass around the edges of the damaged grass and look for any insects.  If you notice quite a few chinch bugs, you may have a problem.   If you’re finding it hard to tell what’s there, you can essentially “flush them out” with a coffee can.  Remove both the top and the bottom of the can (or something similar in size) and push one end into the soil about two inches down.  Fill the can with water until it settles about 2”-3” above the soil and keep it filled at that level for about five minutes.  If you have a chinch bug issue, you will see quite a few floating to the surface of the water.

How do you get rid of them?

Insecticide applications are very successful in controlling chinch bugs.  AAA Lawn Care uses granular insecticide that is activated when watered into the lawn either by sprinkling or the next rainfall.

It should be noted that chinch bug damage can look similar to that of an under-watered lawn, but won’t bounce back once it’s well-irrigated.  It also can resemble several different lawn diseases so, if you’re not sure whether or not it’s chinch bugs, please do not hesitate to call us at (888) 374-7336 AAA Lawn Care technician assess the lawn for you.