Having Trouble Dealing With A Chinch Bug Infestation In Cypress?
Close up picture of a Bug

Having Trouble Dealing With A Chinch Bug Infestation In Cypress?

Do you dream of having that picture-perfect lawn that you worked endlessly to achieve?  You can probably see it now, beautiful green grass surrounded by healthy landscaping and flowers, but then you look at your yard outside, and this ideal scene is only something you hope to one day achieve. 

Or, on the flip side, maybe you do have a perfect-looking yard, but something has started to go wrong, and the grass is dying faster than you can make head or tails of the problem. No matter which of these sceneries resonates more with you, there is a good chance you have faced some issues with your lawn at one time or another.

Common problems that people experience with their lawns include:

  • Diseases 

  • Pests like insects and burrowing animals

  • Fungus

  • Compacted soil

  • Drought

  • Poor irrigation

  • Heavy thatch

  • Weeds

  • Crabgrass or other weed type grasses

  • Damage from foreign substances or equipment

  • Pet damage

  • And much more!

One of the pests that can cause damage to your lawn is chinch bugs. Interestingly, while many insects we refer to as "bugs" are not actually "true bugs," chinch bugs are! They belong to the insect order Hemiptera. For more context, even though we call ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, bees, and beetles bugs, they are not classified the same as chinch bugs. But aphids, cicadas, and leafhoppers, to name a few, are "true bugs."

Simply put, to be considered a "true bug," the following has to be present:

  • Two pairs of wings, with the front pair partially hardened

  • Hypodermic-needle-like mouthparts

  • Antennae with few joints, about five

  • Few foot joints, usually about three

  • Incomplete metamorphosis, which means their young look a lot like adults, but lack wings

While understanding what "true bugs" are may not help you identify chinch bugs, this knowledge is what experts utilize to develop products and methods to treat pests. And knowing this information can make getting the proper treatment for your property more accessible.

To keep your lawn protected from chinch bugs, hear what the experts at Modern Pest Control have to say about this pest and the options for pest control in Cypress. By reading this information, you can learn about chinch bugs, how they affect lawns, and what to do about them!

Grass Eating Insects: What Is A Chinch Bug?

Chinch bugs are grass-eating insects that commonly affect turfgrasses, the type of grass used for most lawns. They are a small pest, typically growing to about 1/5 of an inch long, which can be challenging to see, making chinch bug identification difficult.

Chinch bugs have a three-stage lifecycle consisting of:

Stage 1- Egg:

  • Eggs are small and oval-shaped, about 1/32 an inch long, hatching in about one to two weeks, but during the winter, they can take a month or more during the winter months.

Stage 2-Nymph:

  • Nymphs look similar to adults but are smaller and wingless. During the beginning of this stage, nymphs are reddish-orange, but as they develop, they become more black and grow to about 1/8 an inch long.

Stage 3- Adult:

  • Adults are usually black with white markings on the wings and have an hourglass shape on the back. On average, female chinch bugs can lay over 250 eggs during their lifetime.

Chinch bug identification can be easier if you consider the damage they cause. Chinch bug damage looks like this:

  • Large irregular patches of grass that are turning yellow or brown.

  • Chinch bugs are attracted to heat. These patches will be scattered and usually appear in sunny areas or close to sidewalks, driveways, and other pavement during the hottest and driest parts of the summer.

  • Patches will grow as the infestation worsens and will begin to merge.

  • Chinch bug damage can look like a drought problem.

  • Areas damaged by these pests can have a reddish-purple coloration because of toxins in the chinch bug's saliva.

  • An unpleasant foul odor also occurs when walking across infested turf with chinch bugs.

Adult chinch bugs overwinter underneath decaying plant matter in protected areas like near the foundation of a home. When spring arrives, and temperatures are continuously above 70°F, they will emerge. As soon as they appear from overwintering, they will begin to mate, lay eggs, and raise several generations simultaneously, so this pest can quickly take over a yard. 

If you believe you see chinch bug damage in your yard, there are several routes you can take to rectify the situation, which you can learn about by continuing to read.

Do Chinch Bugs Bite?

As mentioned, chinch bugs have needle-like mouthparts, which they use to pierce blades of grass to suck out juices for nutrients. You don't have to worry about chinch bug bites as they are not strong enough to break through the skin. For example, female mosquitoes have straw-like mouth parts, which are strong enough to break through the skin because they require a blood meal to reproduce. 

Chinch bugs won't harm people because they are nuisance pests. They don't spread diseases, bite, or pose other serious health concerns to people. However, this pest can cause mild itching if you handle them or touch your skin, common with other nuisance pests.

The damage chinch bugs do to a lawn can be costly. They suck the nutrients from grass, but they can also transfer toxins through their saliva that causes the grass to wilt. Because they can dehydrate and kill the grass, your lawn will not be able to recover, requiring you to remove it and replant.

In severe cases of this pest, they can also damage plants and trees, with some species damaging food crops like corn, oats, and wheat. Some of the types of turf chinch bugs are attracted to include:

  • Bren grass

  • Bermuda grass

  • Centipede grass 

  • English ryegrass

  • Kentucky bluegrass

  • Red fescues

  • Ryegrass fescues

  • St. Augustine grass

  • Zoysia grass

By no means is this a complete list, so if you don't see the type of turf you have on your property, don't discount chinch bugs. Although you don't have to worry about chinch bugs harming you, they can affect your wallet!

Tips To Managing A Chinch Bug Infestation

When you hear the word infestation, you might immediately think about the pests that get into your home. But this word can refer to many animals or insects in your yard, which is precisely where chinch bugs become an issue. However, managing a chinch bug infestation can look similar to pest infestations in your home. 

First, you must correctly identify the problem, as misidentification can lead to ineffective treatments and unnecessary expenses. To check for chinch bugs, look for dry turf patches in areas with constant sun exposure, or start at the edge of the pavement and spread outward.

To see if you are dealing with chinch bugs, you can use your hands to push turf at the edges of discolored patches to the side, comb through, and look for these little insects. You can make this easier by using magnification and watering the area first because chinch bugs are attracted to moisture, which will draw them toward the surface.

You can also use another method called the tin can test, which uses the following steps:

  1. Take a tin can, or another metal cylinder, with the bottom and top removed. If you have one on hand, coffee canisters are one of the best items for this test.
  2. Choose a patch of affected turf; again, near the edge of the damage is best. Stick your metal cylinder three inches into the soil, twisting it side to side to dig it in better.
  3. Fill the cylinder 3/4 of the way with water. As the water absorbs into the ground, keep filling it up for about ten minutes, maintaining the same water level.
  4. Stir or agitate the turf that is underwater in your cylinder.
  5. If chinch bugs are causing damage, they will float to the top.

Once you have confirmed that chinch bugs are the cause of your dying lawn, you will want to take action to eliminate this pest. But the elimination process of chinch bugs is not simple and, more often than not, is best left to experts. Here are a few reasons you will want to call in pest control professionals for a chinch bug infestation:

  • Only treating the discolored and dying patches of turf on your property will not guarantee the elimination of this pest. They can spread everywhere, so you will need to treat your entire lawn, which can be extensive depending on the size of your property. 

  • Chinch bugs are most active during the summer, and this is also when their populations are highest, so it can be challenging to eliminate them during this time of year unless you have experience.

  • Not all products that treat pests or grass-destroying pests will eliminate chinch bugs.

  • While many insects are considered pests, some are essential to a healthy lawn. Some products used to treat chinch bugs can affect the types of insects, and even funguses, that help keep this pest under control.

Chinch bugs mature quickly, so implementing the proper treatment is essential to their removal. However, you can also work on preventing this pest by keeping your lawn healthy, well irrigated, and dethatched. 

Mowing your lawn regularly and at the right height for the species of grass you have will help keep it healthy because it will maintain moisture efficiently. Similarly, you will want to irrigate it on a schedule depending on your grass. To dethatch your lawn, remove the organic matter that accumulates at the base of the grass.

You don't have to do this independently if you partner with the experts at Modern Pest Control!

Professional Chinch Bug Treatment In Cypress

You are almost always better off calling in experts because chinch bug damage is easily confused with other lawn problems. Trying to diagnose a lawn problem on your own may take a lot longer, which will allow the issue to persist and worsen. 

Look to our experts at Modern Pest Control for chinch bug control in Cypress. Our chinch bug control services are a part of a nine-step lawn care program, which can consist of:

  • Application of multiple fertilizers, specially designed for grasses used in Texas

  • Organic soil amendments added as needed

  • Treatments using lawn insecticide 

  • Preventative applications for winterizing and pre-emergent weeds

  • Specific product applications are performed in April and then May through November to keep your turf healthy and strong

We tailor this program to meet your lawn's specific needs, so we won't implement any treatments until one of our experts has performed an inspection to identify existing problems and conditions that could lead to future issues. 

When partnering with Modern Pest Control, you can expect our technicians to recognize early signs of different turf diseases and issues and tell you what to do before it worsens.

We provide lawn care services and offer residential pest control to keep all the pests out! Please don't wait any longer to call us at Modern Pest Control to set up a free inspection of your property. Whether you think chinch bugs are the culprit of a current issue or want to take preventative measures, we are here to help.

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