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What Is a Chinch Bug? (How to Control Them in Your Lawn)

What Is a Chinch Bug? (How to Control Them in Your Lawn)

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Have you heard some people talking about chinch bugs recently? You might not even know what these bugs are or what they look like since they aren’t the most common topic of conversation. People usually only bring them up when they’re experiencing problems with their lawns.

A chinch bug is a very tiny type of bug that has the ability to damage your lawn severely. They can do this because they’re able to suck your grass blades dry while also placing poison inside them. This might sound like a very weird thing for a bug to do but it’s how they survive and get nutrients.

If your grass looks as if it’s dying, then it’s possible that chinch bugs could be to blame. These bugs are definitely not good for your lawn and you’re going to want to get rid of them as fast as you can.

Read on to get some tips you can use to take care of a chinch bug problem.

Signs of Chinch Bug Activity

Before you move forward with your anti-chinch-bug measures, it’s going to be important to confirm that you actually have them in your lawn.

To do this, you’re going to be looking out for signs of chinch bug activity. The damage to your lawn is likely going to look similar to what you would see when there is a drought in your area.

Typically, the first parts of your lawn that will be impacted by chinch bugs will be alongside your driveway or other pathways. Dry grass is something that these little bugs will gravitate toward and they also like heavy thatch.

When they’re sucking the grass dry, you’ll notice that the sod will turn yellowish-brown and then reddish-brown before it dies.

Normally, chinch bug activity is going to be heightened starting in June and ending sometime in August. Some types of grass are more heavily impacted by chinch bugs as well.

If you have Kentucky bluegrass, red fescue, perennial rye, or bentgrass, your lawn might be a bigger target than usual.

One way to try to determine if you have chinch bugs in your lawn is to plunge a can that has the bottom sliced off into the ground. You can then fill the can with water so that you can see chinch bugs floating to the surface.

This gives you confirmation that chinch bugs are to blame for your lawn issues.

Remove Thatch

One of the first things that you can do to keep chinch bugs at bay is to go through your lawn to remove thatch.

Keeping thatch out of your yard will make it less attractive to chinch bugs and this should give you some protection against them. It might take some time to eliminate all of the thatch in your yard if you have a lot but your efforts will be worthwhile.

Many homeowners like to do this anyway because they want to keep their lawns as nice as possible. Better lawn care practices can do a good job of keeping chinch bugs away and it’s a good idea to start paying more attention to thatch removal.

If you do a good job with this, you should be able to help control chinch bug issues moving forward.

Other Prevention Methods

There are some other prevention methods that will be of use to you but these are mostly for before you have a chinch bug infestation. You’ll learn more about how to deal with chinch bugs that are in your lawn right now soon enough.

For now, you should know that mowing at recommended levels will do a good job of keeping bugs away.

Try to mow your lawn down to keep it from having as many issues. If you take the time to aerate your lawn, this can also be a good chinch bug deterrent.

Watering your lawn often is another option that is available to you when you’re trying to keep chinch bug problems from popping up.

Essentially, healthy lawns are much less likely to attract chinch bugs than unhealthy lawns. If you take care of your lawn to the best of your abilities, it should be unlikely that you will have chinch bug issues.

Being more proactive about mowing, watering the lawn, removing thatch, and aerating your lawn will do the trick.

Using Insects to Combat Chinch Bugs

It’s possible to buy insects that can combat chinch bugs and save your lawn. For instance, you could buy some ladybugs and lacewings that can help to eliminate them.

You can buy insects such as this from various places and this is a good way to handle the issue when you’re concerned about using chemicals on your lawn.

For many people, buying ladybugs and lacewings will be a good solution to the problem. The only issue is that it might not work as quickly as some people will want it to.

Even so, this is something that you might want to look into if you’d like a biological, natural solution to your chinch bug infestation.

Horticultural Soap

Some people have had success with controlling chinch bugs by using horticultural soap on their lawns. This is a non-toxic type of soap that can potentially help to keep them at bay.

It isn’t going to eliminate chinch bugs, though, and how good your control results will be might depend on the severity of your current issue.

Lawn Insecticides

The only surefire way to take care of chinch bugs fast is going to be to use lawn insecticides to eliminate them. There are various types of insecticides on the market that will allow you to kill them. You can look into what the safest one to use will be for your situation.

Sometimes people don’t want to do this because insecticide can also harm other beneficial insects that you might want to have in your yard. For instance, bumblebees and worms could wind up being killed by the insecticide as well.

This can be problematic for your local ecosystem but it’s also understandable that you need to take care of your chinch bug problem.

It’s up to you to decide what the best course of action is going to be. Once you’ve determined the right path to go down, you’ll be able to move forward. Chinch bugs can be quite an annoyance but they can be taken care of when you take the right steps.


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