Friday, June 19, 2009

Why do some people get chinch bugs?

A homeowner asked, "Will I need chinch bug treatment every year?"
And, "Why do I have chinch bugs and my neighbour doesn't?"

Chinch bugs like warm, sunny conditions. They're like "fair weather" enemies. You are most likely to find them in the sunniest spot on your lawn. Check for them on the south facing lawns, away from trees, shrubs, even fences. Any where that there isn't any shade.

Chinch bugs overwinter in the bushes, along the house foundations, anywhere they can hide for the winter. They are back on the lawns now. (a bit earlier this year than most years.) We are finding them now. This picture is not very clear but it show how small the chinch bugs are.

With the new organic treatments for chinch bugs, not all chinch bugs will be eliminated. We can achieve a level of control that permits the lawns to not show visible damage. This means a few chinch bugs will survive to come back another year.

There are a few things you can do to reduce chinch bug damage and populations.
1. Mow the lawn high. We recommend 3" mowing height. The longer grass blades shade the soil and keep it cooler. A little bit extra shade may be enough to discourage the chinch bugs.
2. Water deeply and infrequently. A stronger, healthier lawn will withstand chinch bug damage better. Chinch bugs suck the sap from the grass. Damage is always worse, for instance, on bentgrass, which is a shallow rooted variety. Deep watering encourages deep roots.
3. Overseed with perennial ryegrass with endophytes. Short version- endophytes discourage chinch bugs. So by having more endophytic perennial ryegrass in your lawn = less chinch bugs.

And the neighbour- maybe he has more shade and is doing all the right things. Sometimes, though it's the neighbour who neglects his lawn that seems to avoid chinch bugs, while you look after your lawn and why do you get the chinch bugs?

I guess, you have to look at it from the point of the chinch bugs. If you were a chinch bug looking for a lawn to feed on, would you choose a neglected lawn or would you choose the green, succulent one that a homeowner can take pride in? Since chinch bugs are sucking insects, small wonder they pick the nice lawns. One of the downsides of having a nice, green lawn.

Chinch bug Article in Library.

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