Do you have large dead patches of sod in your lawn? It is possible that it could be a disease but it might also be the work of chinch bugs. Their damage begins with yellowed patches of grass but progresses to fully dead spots. They suck your grass blades dry and then they inject a poison that kills them.
What are chinch bugs?
“Chinch bugs are turf grass thugs. They cause visible damage to large areas of infected lawn – areas that won’t come back and need to be treated and reseeded. Chinch bugs are hard to spot because they are tiny, but a giveaway is their stench. These insect pests are known to plague turf grass across North America. There is a species for almost every climate and their activities cause irreparable damage to lawns. Blissus leucopterus also known as the true chinch bug is a small North American insect in the order Hemiptera and family Blissidae. It is the most commonly encountered member of the genus Blissus, which are all known as chinch bugs,” reports Gardening Know How.
Chinch bugs mature in about four to six weeks to mature. The Nymphs range in size from 1/32 to 1/5 inch. They have a telltale white stripe across their bodies. The wings rest flat over the back of the insect and there is a black spot between the wings.
Adults can be long-winged or short-winged. Adult chinch bugs are red or dark brown with white wings and are about 3 to 4mm in length. Young nymphs are about half the size of a pinhead – they start out orange red in color with a pale whitish band across their abdomens.
This tiny pest causes damage in the millions of dollars per year, as homeowners seek to control chinch bug outbreaks on their lawn.
Harmful to Humans or Animals?
Chinch bugs drain the nutrients from the grass blades of a lawn. They destroy the grass at every bite, but these bugs are considered harmless to humans. They do not cause harm to humans because they are unable to break the skin.
How do I know I have Chinch Bugs?
Grass attacked by chinch bugs looks like grass suffering from drought. Damaged areas first appear as small, irregular patches, which enlarge into large patches of dead, brown grass as the insects spread.
Chinch bug adults and nymphs can cause significant feeding damage by inserting its straw-like mouthparts into the plant tissue and sucking out the plant fluids while injecting a toxin into the plant which clogs the vascular system and eventually causes the grass to yellow, turn reddish brown, and eventually die.
Chinch bugs love open, sunny areas. They typically start along driveways and sidewalks. The affected grass blades wilt, turn yellow-brown, then dry out and die. Chinch bug populations frequently go unnoticed because of their small size and coloration, which blends in with turfgrass and thatch. Chinch bug damage may be masked during periods of drought. Chinch bug damage is often less noticeable during the spring and early summer. Damage frequently appears from early July through late August when the insects are actively feeding.
Eliminating and Controlling Chinch Bugs
It is important to contact a Professional to discuss eliminating this problem and keeping it under control with a seasonal plan.
Houseman Services is the only complete service company in the Athens, GA area. We provide Weed control, fertilization, shrub care, mulch & pine straw, sod, annual plantings, irrigation, and commercial & residential lawn maintenance. We are also state certified and licensed in wood destroying organisms (termite control), household pest control, public heath, and turf & ornamental weed control. We are licensed to control and treat mosquitoes, termites, all pest problems and turf & ornamental weed control. Contact the professionals at Houseman Services and set up a free inspection of your yard. We have been servicing homes and businesses in the Athens, Clarke County area since 1985!