Commonly known as: Southern chinch bug, Hairy chinch bug
Chinch Bug Facts
Chinch bugs are insects that are also parasites. Chinch bugs are small in size but can cause a lot of damage to lawns. The sap that is emitted by grass plants is their main food source. As Chinch bugs feed, they cause the vegetation to dry and eventually die out. During the early stages of life, the chinch bug is black, once they grow into an adult they develop a reddish tint.
Chinch Bug Bites
Chinch bugs bite the grass they inhabit and drain the nutrients from the grass blades of a lawn. Unlike the grass that they destroy at every bite, these bugs are considered harmless to humans. They are capable of biting grass but do not cause harm to humans because they are unable to break the skin.
Chinch Bug Infestations
Turfgrass is the target for chinch bug infestations. They are easy to look over as their size and color help them blend into the grass or soil. Once settled into a habitat, the chinch bug will use its mouth to bite into the grass blades and suck the nutrients from the grass. In this process, they plug the vascular system of the grass stopping the grass from getting any sort of food or energy to it and eventually the result is the grass dying and drying out. The reproduction cycle is quite fast and can happen in mass amounts adding to the infestation. Female Chinch bugs are capable of producing 300 to 500 eggs over the course of 50 days, and the eggs hatch after only 2 weeks, which can result in high numbers of chinch bugs populating a lawn. Chinch bugs are very small, so to come across an infestation one would have to look extensively.
Chinch Bug Life Cycle
Chinch bugs come out of hibernation during the spring time and embed themselves in clumps of weeds or wheat fields. At this point, the female chinch bugs will begin to mate with the males and reproduce eggs. Female chinch bugs can lay 300 to 500 eggs during one mating season, making their bug community much larger over the course of only months.
FAQ about Chinch Bugs
How can I tell if I have a Chinch bug infestation?
Usually, if there is a Chinch bug infestation one will find the grass to be brown. Chinch bugs plug the vascular system of grass causing it to dry out. Brown or reddish patches in the yard can be an indicator of infestation along with very dry soil.
How can I prevent chinch bug infestations?
The type of turf you use for your lawn can attract or deter chinch bugs. Certain grass species such as perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, and Kentucky bluegrass, attract chinch bugs. Switching to a different turf can help prevent a chinch bug infestation. If this is not an option for your yard, certain insecticides are useful against chinch bugs and can be used to prevent an infestation. Aside from insecticides, there are some natural enemies of chinch bugs. Spiders, as well as egg parasites, are natural predators, and can help suppress chinch bug populations.