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How to Identify and Treat Chinch Bugs in Your North Texas Lawn

Jack Moore
Apr 4, 2022 11:37:32 AM

Although you might feel as though you do all the right things when it comes to having a thick, healthy, and thriving lawn, there are a number of enemies out there. A big one is lawn pests! Various types of lawn pests can be highly destructive and need to be properly addressed.

Among them, the chinch bug can be a major source of frustration. This is a pest that could be feeding on your lawn, right under your nose.

We understand that you care about your lawn and you want to know that it’s going to remain in optimal shape. That’s why we’re talking about everything from what do chinch bugs look like, to the best way to get rid of them.

We agree that you deserve to have a beautiful lawn that isn’t going to succumb to problems like pests.

What Do Chinch Bugs Look Like?

As with any pest, the first step is proper identification. After all, you have to understand what you’re dealing with before you can start to address it.

chinch bug

Of course, there’s a bit of trouble when it comes to identifying the chinch bug and that’s the fact that they’re incredibly small! The adult chinch bug is only one-sixth inch long so you might not be able to see its distinct details (which include a blackish/gray body and white wings). The chinch bug also has a distinctive triangular mark on its head.

Since the chinch bug is so small, you’re likely to see its damage before you actually spot a pest.

Despite its tiny size, the chinch bug can be highly destructive, even when it’s young. Both the nymph and the adult chinch bug will feed on a lawn by sucking the plant fluids out of its individual grass blades.

As they do this, they also inject a toxin into the grass which can cause it to turn yellow, brown, and ultimately die.

damage from chinch bug

This is one of the reasons why chinch bug damage is sometimes mistaken for being Brown Patch disease (or other turf diseases that cause discoloration). Chinch bug damage is also sometimes mistaken for drought stress.

One way to know that you’re dealing with a pest rather than a disease or environmental stressor is the shape of the patches. Chinch bug damage usually shows up as irregularly shaped patches from feeding whereas drought stress due to a poorly functioning sprinkler head or Brown Patch is usually quite circular.

How to Get Rid of Chinch Bugs in North Texas

If you suspect that you may have a chinch bug problem because of the damage that you are seeing, you can do some simple investigation work to find out more.

Read The Ultimate Texas Lawn Care Guide

Get out in your lawn and examine the “fringe areas” of your turf, meaning the healthy areas that border the damaged areas. This is going to be where the chinch bugs are feeding since they move onto fresh and healthy turf after consuming an area.

customer points at problem areas in landscape

You’ll want to get down on the ground and actually pull any layers of thatch apart so that you can really see down into the grass. Watch the same area for around 30 seconds for movement.

Another way to scout for chinch bugs is to use a metal tube (such as an old can, like a coffee can, with the top and bottom both removed). Stick the tube (or can) into the ground around one to two inches in that “fringe” area. Next, fill the can with water. After about 10 minutes, if you have chinch bugs, they should float to the top. You can count the number of pests in the can to establish a sense of the population density of your chinch bug infestation (per area).

As far as how to get rid of chinch bugs after you’ve found them, you’ll want to reach out to a lawn care professional. That’s because the best way to treat chinch bugs is with a curative product that will get rid of them.

customer talks to landscape professional

Because it is quite possible that you might never deal with a chinch bug problem, we don’t include these products in our standard programs. This is because we do not want you to pay for a product you may never need.

Still, we know that these pests can potentially be a problem, which is why we aim to educate about them, including what you can do to get rid of chinch bugs if you end up having them. Any time that you spot a potential problem, you should get in touch with your lawn care professional so that they can incorporate a swift solution.

With destructive pests, time is of the essence.

When to Treat for Chinch Bugs in North Texas

As far as what time of the year you might expect potential chinch bugs, they tend to thrive during the summer months. They tend to be most active from late June through September when the weather is the warmest.

Preventing Chinch Bugs (as Much as Possible)

While some pest infestations simply cannot be prevented, we do want to mention that the healthier your lawn is, the better shape you’ll be in (even if chinch bugs do attempt to invade). That’s because a healthy lawn will be able to withstand some lawn pest pressure (much better than a lawn that is struggling).

fertilization spreader puts granular fertilizer in grass

In addition to any curative treatments, we also recommend that homeowners implement a full lawn care program that will help their turf to grow thick and healthy. You want to make sure that your lawn is receiving regular fertilization and also weed control to fight back against other unwanted invaders. This will make it more resistant to trouble.

And since these lawn pests often like to hang out in the thatch layer of grass, preventing excessive thatch with lawn aeration is another key to creating a lawn that naturally resists pests. Lawn aeration will also go a long way in filling in bare spots and maintaining that thick and thriving turf you desire.

aeration cores

Proper cultural practices are also beneficial in preventing pest problems.

For instance, too little or too much water can cause chinch bug problems. Chinch bugs prefer a hot, dry environment and like a drought-stressed lawn. But over-watering can also cause saturated, oxygen-deprived soils that can’t cultivate the microbes needed to naturally decompose layers of thatch. Proper watering, however, can set you up for success.

Get Rid of Chinch Bugs with a Pro

At the end of the day, your lawn care professional should be your partner in the fight against unwanted pests, like chinch bugs.

One of the huge benefits of signing up for a full lawn care program is not only that your lawn will grow thicker and healthier, but also the fact that you’ll have a regular professional eye on your property.

This can make a huge difference in spotting a problem in the early stages. As we mentioned, chinch bug damage can sometimes occur right under your nose, without you realizing there’s a problem until it’s severe. But when you work with a pro, you at least know they’re constantly on the lookout for trouble.

family plays on healthy grass

Of course, we know that with fast-moving pests, sometimes the issue can arise in between our visits. When that’s the case, we always want you to reach out. If you spot any sign of trouble, we want to hear from you.

We’ll also provide you with lots of tips to help set you up for success with all of your potential lawn problems. After all, chinch bugs are one of many issues out there that you need to be aware of.

We understand that it can feel overwhelming, but we are here to help!

Let Grassperson Help You Get Rid of your Worries

Although it might feel like pests are working against your mission to have the best lawn on the block, with a professional on your side, you don’t have to fear them. That means you can have the peace of mind that your lawn will continue to look great and you can continue to enjoy it.

Ready for a gorgeous lawn at your Flower Mound, Highland Village, or Lewisville, TX home without having to worry about lawn problems like chinch bugs? Get a free quote and then enjoy the best lawn on the block without the worries!

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Image Source: chinch bug

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