Controlling Chinch Bugs Organically
Chinch bugs are a pretty common lawn pest that suck the sap from grass
and a severe infestation will make the lawn have patches of dead grass
here and there (mostly next to shrub or flower borders where there's a
good supply of protective cover and overwinter sites).
This pest can inject a toxin into the grass blade while eating that
wilts the grass and eventually will kill it.
You'll mostly see this problem in a season when there is an early
drought - hot and dry.
Wet seasons do not produce a huge crop of this pest.
Life Cycle of the Chinch Bugs
The life cycle starts out with an egg laid by the overwintered adult
and when warm weather comes, the female lays about 200 eggs on grass
and soil in the driest area she can find. Three weeks later, the nymphs
hatch out and start feeding.
The nymphs do the most damage and you can identify them because they
are about 1/20 inch long - red coloured with a white band across their
back. They go through several molts and become flying adults able to
lay eggs. You'll see two generations each summer.
Is it Lawn Care?
The big problem is that improper lawn care resembles cinch bug damage.
The trick here is to monitor the lawn to see if you've overfed, forgot
to water, or otherwise duplicated the effects of feeding.
The easiest way to monitor is to take a large tin can- cut off both
ends and sink this into the ground. Pick an area where the yellowing
grass meets the green grass to sink the can. Fill the can with water- let
it soak in- fill it again. The chinch bugs will float to the top. If
there are several in the can, you can consider spraying, but if you
don't get any or only one or two- then let Mother Nature take care of
it and create a
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Removing Chinch Bugs
Another option for removing chinch bugs from the lawn is to drench the
lawn with soapy water. Place white flannel sheets (use the old ones
guys) over the lawn area. It should only take about 15 minutes (if you
soaked enough) for the sheet to be full of escaping pests. Crush them
or dump them into a bucket of soapy water.
Soaking the areas of damage with insecticidal soap mixed at killing
(40 parts water to 1 part soap) will knock off many of
these pests. And using a soap/pyrethrum combination will also work.
A healthy lawn will shrug off chinch bug attacks so learning how to
grow a healthy organic lawn is the first step in solving a great many
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