Watch out for the dreaded Chinch!
Late spring and early summer is the time of year when we start to get calls from people wondering why their lawns are turning brown in spots despite repeated watering. On visiting the properties, we usually find lack of water is not the problem. It is the dreaded “chinch” (pronounced “inch” with a hard “CH” in front) bug!
Known officialy as the hairy chinch bug, these pests are relatively new to our region, migrating north from southern urban areas in the last twenty years. They are surface feeding insects. Chinch bugs have piercing-sucking mouth parts and they destroy the grass by piercing the blade tissue and sucking out the juices. If not treated, entire lawns can be destroyed, even though these pests are less than 5mm in length.
Chinch bugs winter in protected areas like hedges, flower beds, and even close to house foundations. They become dormant in the fall, and remain dormant until the weather warms in the spring. Adults will move into the grass at this point and begin to feed. Females will lay eggs usually in June, and then a couple of weeks later the newly hatched nymphs will start to feed as well. Thus, by mid July, signs of a browning lawn is noticed.
The adult chinch bug is black and greyish-white in colour, with reddish-brown legs. Wings are folded over the back of the insect and may appear as a white stripe across the back. The nymphs are similar in appearance to the adult bug.
In our area, we find control the best if we spray after the first week of July. However, with warmer and earlier springs, we may be spraying earlier than in previous years. While there may be some damage to your lawn before we apply the control, it is still best to wait and ensure the majority of eggs are hatched before any spraying. Usually grass will rejuvenate quickly if the control is done at the right time because the root system has not been effected.
If you believe you have a chinch bug problem and you did not order the control, please call us directly. We’ll be happy to check out your lawn and advise!
The Lawn Care Company with Integrity
Orillia & Area
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