Chinch bugs are your lawn’s worse enemy. Not only do they chew at your lawn grass, turning it into a deathly brown, but they also prefer to attack during dry seasons. This makes it difficult to spot the culprits as you may find it hard to distinguish whether your lawn is suffering from the effects of a chinch bug infestation or dry weather.
To control chinch bugs, pest control experts recommend homeowners to take serious precautions, as well as strategic measures. In addition to making sure your lawn is kept healthy and nourished during dry spells, you’ll need to check soil for chinch bugs. In cases where you spot these lawn pests you can be use predatory insects that’ll eat them up or hire a pest control expert.
5 Ways to Control Chinch Bugs
- Improve Shade Where Grass Grows in Direct Sunlight
Chinch bugs love to attack patches of lawn that grows in direct sunlight. To control these pests, introduce trees and shrubs where possible to offer shade to these areas of your lawn. When this occurs, these pests will be less inclined to feed on your turf.
2. Check for Chinch Bugs Using Floatation Test
Patches of brown or yellowish grass does not necessarily mean chinch infestation. T
hese patches can result from dehydration or other ailments. To combat chinch bugs, homeowners will first need to verify for certain that their lawn is infested with these bugs.
Start by checking for chinch bugs in the soil. Cut the bottom of a metal can and insert it into the soil a
few inches deep, especially in an area where lawn is showing signs of wilting or discoloration. Pour water into the can until it is almost full. Do this several times and observe the contents of the can.
If chinch bugs are present, they’ll begin to float to the top of the water. Their oval-shaped bodies will be about 1/6 inch long, depending on the species, with black, grayish or whitish backs. You may notice their eggs as well as smaller chinch bugs in their nymph stage at which point they may have a red appearance.
3. Remove Thatch
Thatch consists of spongy layers of shoots, roots and stems that create an ideal habitat for chinch bugs and their eggs. To control these bugs, remove thatch that might be present in your lawn. This might require techniques such as power raking or mowing.
Also, refrain from excess irrigation and fertilizers which can cause thatch to accumulate.
4. Do not Overwater Lawn
You may be tempted to overwater your lawn in a bid to control chinch bugs, but this is a bad idea. Though chinch bugs usually attack in dry summer seasons, they are also attracted to excess moisture.
When irrigating, focus your attention on the areas that are already wilting. Water grass in moderation.
5. Get Predatory Insects that Eat Chinch Bugs
Every insect has a predator. In the case of chinch bugs, there are many predatory creatures available to
control chinch bug infestation. These include striped earwigs, the big-eyed bug and fire ants. This biological approach reduces the risks associated with chemical treatments that may kill chinch bugs but have lasting effects on your lawn and the environment.
The biological approach can be affective but homeowners should recognize that this is not a foolproof approach. It should be used in combination with the other chinch bug control measures. Also, note that a pest control professional may be required where high levels of infestation are present. This includes instances where more than 100 chinch bugs are present per square foot.