Chinch bugs is a major problem for lawn, especially in warmer months. These bugs harm the grass, turning it into yellow and eventually kill it. Chinch bugs feed on various kind of grass by sucking out the sap from the crown and the stem of the grass. Hence, immediate treatment once an infestation is found out may save the entire lawn.
Signs of infestation
Chinch bugs target on the grass on your lawn as their food source. These bugs are associated with dry, open lawn exposed to free air and sunlight. Due to their tiny size and discoloration, chinch bug infestation in a lawn can hardly be seen. In fact, this bug population may reach 200 insects per square foot. To find out the signs of infestation you might want to read on.
- Chinch bugs have a small, triangular spots and short wings.
- Chinch bugs feed on the grass by sucking out the sap, leaving the crown and stems turn yellow and dry. Hence, look for the area with grass with these signs to check possible infestation.
- On a sunny day, some adult chinch bugs might be seen wandering around dry surfaces, such as driveways, sidewalk, and foundation walls. Check the grass around these areas for infestation.
- If you cannot see any chinch bugs physically while the grass keeps getting yellow and dry, you can use the can method to check for infestation. You need to remove both sides of the can and put it several inches down to the suspected soil. Fill half of the can with water and stir to dislodge any trapped chinch bugs. The soil is infested if you see several bugs floating to the surface.
Chinch bugs treatments
Once you discover chinch bug infestation, you might need immediate treatments to eliminate its population. Various methods mentioned can be done to minimize the infestation.
- A small infestation can be treated using dish soap method. Chinch bugs do not like dish soap chemicals, and will likely to avoid it by floating to the grass crowns. To control chinch bugs using this method, you will require:
- 50 mL dish soap
- Ant sticky trap or a flannel fabric
Mix a bucket of water with 50 mL dish soap and stir thoroughly. Use the mixture to drench the suspected area, where the grass is turning yellow or brown. Lay a flannel fabric over the treated areas, or put the ant sticky trap near it. The chinch bugs should crawl onto the surface to avoid the soap flood. The flannel or ant trap will cause their feet to stuck and unable to get away. Dispose or burn the flannel or trap to kill the infesting bugs.
- Sprinkling diatomaceous earth over the suspected areas kills adult chinch bugs. DE is derived from fossil soil and has sharp surfaces which tear small bugs and kill them. The effects of using DE to control chinch bugs infesting the lawn might not be directly seen, but it should be effective in eliminating the population.
- A mixture of essential oils, such as rosemary and cinnamon oils, and also fish and sesame oils can be a good treatment to kill chinch bugs infesting the lawn. Mix equal parts of the oils and spread across the infested areas. Water the areas afterward. You will see some dead chinch bugs killed by the mixture. Do this regularly to eliminate the entire population.
Chinch bug control
Chinch bug infestation sometimes cannot be easily seen. Hence, preventing it from happening in the lawn is the best method to keep the grass healthy. Chinch bug control can be done through simple methods, such as:
- Deep watering the lawn, especially the areas exposed to direct sun heavily. This method is better than watering the lawn less but frequently.
- Shade the grass. Chinch bugs like the dry, exposed areas. Hence, shading the grass will minimize the possibility of infestation.
- Do not over-fertilize the lawn. Fertilization while beneficial for the grass, might over dry the soil if done excessively. This is caused by various chemicals contained by fertilizers.
- Sprinkling grounded egg shells will not only give nutrition to the grass but also help to kill any insects trying to infest the lawn, including chinch bugs.