Expert Chinch Bug Treatment and Control Guide (For Beginners)

Kenneth Wilson

When dealing with a chinch bug infestation, trust us when we say it's best to act on it at once. When overlooked, these pests may cause extensive damage to your lawn and leave behind unsightly patches of dry and dead grass all over. (Related: Common Florida Yard Pests and How To Prevent Them)

Chinch bugs notably have piercing, sucking mouthparts– which they use to suck the nutrients from the grass. This leaves nothing for your turfgrass, causing it to turn brown and ultimately die. So, if you're looking into chinch bugs lawn treatment, we're here to make the process easier. Let's discuss everything you need to know to wipe out the entire bug population in no time!

4 Steps to Treat Your Chinch Bug-Infested Lawn

Here we go..

1. Identify the Chinch Bugs

Before you figure out the best treatment for chinch bugs, you must be 100% certain that you are dealing with a chinch bug population (and not other types of insects). If you misidentify the pests attacking your lawn, you may only waste time and money on the wrong treatment methods. Here are some fool-proof ways to determine the presence of chinch bugs on your lawn:

  • Most notably, chinch bugs take on different appearances at each growth stage. Adult bugs are small (1/5 of an inch) with an oval-shaped, hard body. They have black and white-colored wings with a distinct triangle shape. Their legs have an orange-brown shade.
  • It's common for chinch bugs to hide in the thatch area of your lawn, but they can also climb atop the grass blades to consume it. This makes it easy for you to notice their activity in your yard.
  • Chinch bugs damage the grass by feeding on the healthy grass blades until they've sucked all the necessary nutrients for themselves. This leaves inadequate nutrients to your growing grass, which may cause it to turn brown and die. These pests also release poison as they feed on the grass, killing your turf.

2. Inspect the Severity of the Infestation

After identifying the presence of chinch bugs on your lawn, it’s time to inspect the yard thoroughly to determine the severity of the infestation. This allows you to pinpoint where these pests are concentrated and determine the hotspot areas for treatment.

How to inspect chinch bugs on your lawn? Observe lawn damage by walking through your lawn. Chinch bugs have a distinct damage pattern compared to other common lawn pests. These pests are usually found in the hottest areas of your lawn, where they receive full sunlight exposure.

Ideally, look for active signs of chinch bug activity. You can start by pulling back some grass from a moist thatch area that's beginning to dry. In some cases, you may find bugs trying to climb up on the blades of grass to look for moisture.

Important Note: Lawns damaged by chinch bugs usually have yellow, brown, and dead grass patches similar to lawn disease.

3. Determine the Proper Lawn Treatment

After the initial assessment, you should now be ready to apply chemical treatment for chinch bugs. Preparing some personal protective equipment would be best if you plan to go the DIY route.

Purchase a commercial insecticide designed to target chinch bugs in liquid or granule form. The best chinch bugs lawn treatment is by choosing the insecticide route, which helps you get rid of the bugs as soon as possible. Since these pests mature in no time, consider applying an insecticide once you notice signs of chinch bug infestation on your lawn.

Applying an Insecticide for Chinch Bugs

You will need to spread the insecticide across your lawn evenly. For liquid insecticides, opt to broadcast spray your lawn turf– starting from the edges before working your way inside. Homeowners planning to use a granular insecticide can walk all over the yard and apply the chemical using a spreader. Return to your initial starting point if you want to treat the entire turfgrass.

Depending on the product, you may need to water the gradual insecticide shortly after completing its application.

Chinch Bug Organic Treatment

Suppose you are looking for ways to eliminate chinch bugs naturally. In that case, keep an eye out for organic products such as Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap Concentrate to penetrate the outer shell of chinch bugs and kill them from dehydration and BotaniGard ES, formulated with the Beauveria bassiana fungus to attack common crop pests.

Don't worry; these organic remedies are considerably effective, proven, and safe on your lawn. Regular applications can also provide the same protection (if not better) than their chemical pesticide counterparts.

You can also consider non-toxic botanical insecticides from plants with unique insecticidal properties. These natural pesticides are noted to have fewer side effects than commercially-manufactured ones and break down rapidly.

4. Maintaining a Healthy Lawn (Aftercare)

For your chinch bug treatment to be successful, it's best to do your part in maintaining a healthy lawn. A lawn in its prime condition can easily fend off pest infestation and other common lawn diseases.

Not to mention, healthy turfgrasses have a better response to insecticide treatments. Always follow regular maintenance activities to encourage healthy turf growth, allowing your lawn to prevent pesky chinch bugs from making a comeback. Here are some expert-backed tips you can follow:

  • Aerate your turfgrass by raking, which also reduces thatch and improves airflow and always fertilize at the right time of the year (once in the Spring and Fall seasons).
  • Follow proper mowing height (3 to 4 inches, ideally) at least once a week to encourage more robust root development.
  • Don't forget to water the lawn regularly, but avoid overwatering as this may be harmful to your grass.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are chinch bugs?

Chinch bugs are tiny, bothersome insects that frequently eat zoysia grass and St. Augustine lawns across the US. The body of a fully developed Chinch is less than ¼-inch long and is dark red or black with white spots.

Nymphs can be identified by their bright red color and white stripe across their backs. Both adults and larvae produce a strong smell that frequently makes them easy to spot, especially when the population of pests is high or when they are trampled underfoot. It is common to see fewer than 15 chinch bugs per square foot of grass on lawns, but it's essential not to overlook these little bugs. Extreme heat and drought can lead the population to increase to over 100 bugs per square foot of lawn under the right circumstances.

Are chinch bugs harmful to my lawn?

If these bugs aren't treated, they may damage your lawn. Each bug rips a hole in the grass with its needle-like beak before sucking out the fluids. Large irregular patches of turfgrass start to turn yellow and brown as a result of their feeding. Even when correctly watered, these patches, which frequently form on the borders of lawns, will only continue to grow larger.

How to tell if you have chinch bugs?

The good news is that chinch bugs may be tracked out and located if they choose to feast in your yard. The bad news is that this task can be challenging because the bug is so small. As soon as you discover dry patches on your lawn, it is best practice to inspect them. We advise utilizing nothing more than a magnifying lens and your hands. There is no need to be concerned about being bitten because these little insects do not harm people. Spreading the grass close to the soil on the edges of your lawn can help you discover the bothersome insects.

Signs of a chinch bug infestation:

  • Grass has dry patches.
  • Even after you dry, the grass does not grow.
  • Spreading the grass to the edge of your lawn will help you discover the insects more easily.
Kenneth Wilson
July 6, 2022
2terra, Contractor Tips, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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