What are Chinch Bugs?
Tens of thousands of Winnipeg homeowners suffer serious lawn damage due to chinch bugs – destructive little insects, capable of wiping out entire lawns in a matter of weeks. Chinch bugs suck the juice out of grass blades and inject a toxin into the plant while doing so, slowly killing the grass.
Identifying the Problem
Chinch bugs are always present in your lawn and are always causing damage. Under normal chinch bug populations, your lawn is able to repair itself as quickly as it’s being damaged, so you would rarely notice any issues in your lawn. When the population increases however, small tennis ball-sized dead patches begin to appear. With continued hot dry weather, those patches continue to grow and coalesce into larger dead areas. The damage is permanent and the lawn will require patching and repair
Controlling the damage
One female chinch bug can lay an average of 200 eggs, twice per summer. In long, hot years, they may be able to lay a third generation of eggs. As a homeowner however, you have several options to control the spread.
1) Grow Grass
90 per cent of the moisture in a grass plant is in the leaves. A larger plant with more moisture will help to dilute any toxins injected by the chinch bug, helping some plants to survive. Longer grass plants also have energy to support tillers and produce more plants helping to thicken the lawn.
2) Water Often
Chinch bugs love hot, dry weather and will almost always begin by damaging the highest, driest, full sun areas of the lawn. They rarely damage lawn under large trees or in the gullies between suburban homes where most of the grey water is discharged and the lawn is lowest. While watering does not drive the insects out of the lawn, it does slow their activity down to a crawl. 1” of water per week is recommended. We would normally suggest that you water ½” twice per week, while fighting a chinch bug infestation, we would recommend ½” every day or two.
3) Call Us
Once properly diagnosed, an insect control application can be applied to eliminate the insect population and give your lawn a reprieve to recover. Given the current population, two applications in one season may be necessary. Unless you keep your lawn well watered, or apply insect control when necessary, the chinch bug population will remain a problem.