Killing Chinch Bugs That Are Ruining Your Grass
The Eastern silent killers have sadly made their way West. The chinch bug, a hairy insect with black, white, and orange spots, has arrived and is not welcome. Since June is when temperatures begin to rise and rainfall decreases, chinch bugs are at their worst throughout the summer months of July and August. Once active, lawns can be destroyed beyond repair in a matter of weeks, necessitating a full re-sodding and landscaping project.
We can use the information in this blog to spot and eliminate these threats before they cause damage to our finances that most Canadians would consider catastrophic. Chinch bugs, sadly, do not succumb to the cold alone during the winter. They hibernate during the winter, then reappear in the spring like Han Solo from Star Wars after being frozen solid. This means we'll have to take matters into our own hands if we want to keep chinch bugs off your lawn.
How Chinch Bugs Cause Turf Damage
The chinch themselves are not harmful; rather, it is the food they consume. These bugs feed on tree sap. They rely on the sugar in sap for sustenance. Grass, specifically red fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which together make up more than 80% of lawns in Canada and other cool-season climates, is their preferred plant life.
Once the turf grass's crown and stem have been sucked dry, a toxin is injected to kill off what's left of the plant (way to kick someone while they're down...).
What Are the Symptoms of Chinch Bugs in My Lawn?
End Result Spots of your lawn are turning brown or yellow and dying. One or two spots today could grow into an 8-by-1-meter patch tomorrow that kills off the rest of your lawn. When temperatures rise, bug activity increases, and the resulting damage becomes more noticeable. Most homeowners make the mistake of attributing the issue to insufficient watering or excessive dryness when, in fact, the real culprit is a hidden predator enjoying a feast beneath the surface.
It's important to make sure chinch bugs are actually a problem in your lawn. Here are a couple of do-it-yourself approaches to ruling out potential causes:
Scrubbing and Checking
- Getting down to business Get down on all fours and scratch back the dry area of concern with your fingers or a small hand rake.
- Start dethatching the area where you want to dig and see how far down the grass roots go.
- Can you see any tiny bugs, say, 4 mm in length and black with white spots on the wings? Trouble is, we do.
Using a Coffee-Can Technique
- Remove the bottom from a coffee container and bury it in the grass to a depth of about 5cm (two inches).
- Fill the container about two-thirds full with water.
- Wait for 5-10 minutes and see if chinch bugs come floating to the surface.
- Check not only the obviously infected areas, but also those that seem to be safe, to see if the problem has spread or can still be contained.
When Should I Worry About Bed Bugs?
It's likely that you have chinch bugs if you live in South Calgary. Most of north Calgary hasn't been affected yet, but the situation in southeast Calgary has been getting worse every year since 2015. The worst part is that it can quickly spread to other people's properties, just like weeds on your lawn. However, the effects of chinch bugs are much more severe than the spread of a few dandelions, as they can force a person to re-sod their entire lawn (costing an average of $3,000-8,000).
Get the chinch bugs under control right away if you need to resod your lawn, because it's more complicated than just replacing the old sod with new grass.
For the following reasons, we advise having a professional service handle it:
- Products available at your neighborhood hardware store aren't tailored to chinch bugs, but rather to a wider range of insects.
- Products sold in stores typically come in 4L jugs that cover only a few hundred square feet and cost around $35 CAD, whereas the average lawn is several thousand square feet in size.
- Do-it-yourself lawn and pest control products are bound to be weaker and of lower quality than those available from a professional service.
- If you use too much of the product, your grass will die, but if you use too little, the chinch bugs will survive.
- In order to ensure everyone's safety, it's best to delegate this task to a trained expert. Insecticides are poisonous chemical treatments. Don't bother messing with these.
The good news is that a single commercial application of chinch bug treatment can usually eliminate 90% of the problem. A second application, submitted 2–4 weeks after the initial, should effectively seal the deal.
The Cost of Chinchilla Pest Control
Most chinch bug infestations can be eliminated with a $280 two-application pest control program. Since bugs are territorial by nature, they usually won't return once the population has been reduced.
If you have a Chinch Bug problem, the more pressing question is how much it will cost you if you do nothing about it. Spot repairs may be all that's needed at first, but ignoring the problem could let chinch bugs spread throughout your entire lawn. Replacing a lawn's sod is a very costly endeavor. The broad outline looks like this:
Cost To Re-Sod A 2,000 Sq. Ft. Lawn (The Standard Lawn Size In Calgary)
- Use a skid steer to remove the existing sod and the top 10 inches of soil.
- Transport all debris to the landfill (very pricey, as landfill disposal costs $120 per ton and sod weighs a lot).
- Replace the top inch of soil in the yard and level it.
- Re sod
- Every day for two weeks, water thoroughly
Price tag: ,000 plus GST.
What About the Chinch Bug?
It is, but there are safeguards, just like with anything else in life. Despite the availability of pest control products, we rarely advise homeowners to handle the problem on their own. Certified experts have been trained in the appropriate procedures, have an understanding of the relevant applications, and have access to the necessary protective equipment.
Keep pets, yourself, and children off the lawn for the remainder of the day after chinch bug treatment has been applied. The product is non-toxic to mammals and birds once it has dried, but you should still take precautions to protect your yard.
Lawns that have had chinch bug treatments applied do not require further watering. Keep away from the sprinklers for the rest of the day. Even if it rains soon after an application, it should still be effective, but it's best to schedule a follow-up appointment two to three weeks later.
How to Keep Chinch Bugs Off Your Lawn Forever in 4 Easy Steps
- Maintain regular lawn mowing. Once every ten days, ideally at a length of two to two and a half minutes. Length of 5 inches
- Make sure you water your lawn sufficiently every week. It is recommended to spend 30 minutes under a sprinkler to get an inch of water.
- Once a year, aerate Aerating in the fall is recommended because it is a stressful change for them. Spring aeration is an alternative to the fall method, but it leads to more weed germination.
- Prevent using liquid fertilizer. The high-nitrogen, fast-release properties of liquid fertilizer are ideal for chinch bugs. Use only organic, slow-release granular fertilizers.
- Preliminary inspection of the issue Don't make things worse that are already bad Do a DIY inspection with our guide or contact us for a free chinch bug inspection if your looks like it's drying out even though you've had plenty of rain.
Unfortunately, chinch bugs are nasty, bloodsucking creatures. You can take action, which is good news. Preventative measures are almost always less expensive than corrective ones. Call us or request an inspection online if you suspect chinch bugs are damaging your lawn. When everything is at stake, it is preferable to err on the side of caution. You put in a lot of effort so that your lawn is always lush and verdant. Safeguard your expenditures by preventing the presence of pests at your event.
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