Chinch bugs thrive in hot, dry weather. Sunny areas are usually the most affected. All common turf grass species in Ontario are susceptible to chinch bug feeding, but some varieties may be more susceptible to chinch bug damage.
Life History: The adult chinch bug can spend the winter congregated under trees and shrubs and on the edges of lawns under hedges and in flower beds. As the temperatures become warmer in the spring (late May – June), the adults move into the lawn and begin depositing eggs.
Description: This insect is quite small – the adults are 4 mm in length. The immature nymphs are bright red in colour when they first hatch, and begin to darken from brick red to grey/brown when they are nearly mature. The immature nymphs have a characteristic white band across their abdomen, which is eventually covered by the enlarging wings as the insects become larger and mature.
Chinch bugs have piercing mouth parts. They suck the sap from the crown and stems of turf grass plants. As a result, the damage usually begins as localized dead patches. Increased irrigation can reduce chinch bugs. Wright’s summer solution for chinch bugs consists of essential oils, selected plant extracts and natural fertilizer components that together increase the health and vigor of your lawn thereby reducing effects of summer stress and chinch bug activity. The summer solution also increases soil activity which promotes a natural stress resistance and this helps the lawn hold its colour.
Detection: Use the following method to confirm a suspected chinch bug infestation or have Wright’s check and apply our summer solution.
• Make a cylinder by cutting out the bottom and the top of a large can (approx 20 cm in diameter).
• Force the cylinder into the turf.
• Fill the cylinder with water. Any chinch bugs present will soon float to the surface of the water.
The best time to start to check for chinch bug infestations is the second week of July – (weather dependent) – when it has been hot and dry. (This will vary from year to year and from one locality to another.) At this time, most eggs have hatched, and the initial stages of damage are minimal.