What Are Chinch Bugs?

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Chinch bugs are generally known for harming grass in sunny lawns. They suck the chlorophyll from the grass causing it to lose color and eventually die. This is a difficult to problem to solve as they reproduce quickly and conventional pest control may not prove very effective in eradicating these bugs.

Signs of Damage

  • The most obvious sign that your lawn has been attacked by chinch bugs is that even shortly after watering or rain, your grass looks as though it is wilting. There are conditions to this, however. This effect will usually stop wherever there is shade, for example, as chinch bugs are particular to sunlight. The grass will be yellow as the bugs have sucked much of the juices from the grass. The patch may start in the middle of a large sunny patch of grass and spread over time.

Control

  • Despite the fact that chinch bugs will still live in grass that is watered, frequent watering may strengthen your grass such that it can survive their residence. There are also many types of bugs that will prey on the chinch bugs, including certain types of beetles. Pesticides are not recommended as they will probably kill off the bugs that typically kill chinch bugs and cause following generations of chinch bugs to thrive more than before. The exception to this rule is if you use pesticides during April and early May as this will kill many of the females and their eggs.

Appearance

  • Chinch bugs are small, winged insects. Each wing has a small, black triangle on it. While these bugs are typically around 1/8th of an inch, their size can vary up to nearly 1/4 of an inch. The oblong insects are often confused with other bugs. In particular they can easily be confused for big-eyed bugs, which are shorter and somewhat fatter.

Life Cycle

  • Chinch bugs generally follow a very predictable life cycle. First the eggs are laid near the bottom of blades of wheat or grass. The eggs generally hatch after a week. It then takes six weeks for the insects to mature. During this process they will turn from red to either brown or gray. These insects will then lay their eggs on corn. This is the second of two generations that generally occur per year. The females will lay 30 eggs per day over a period of around three weeks. The cycle will then repeat.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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