Every proud homeowner strives to cultivate a rich, lush, green lawn. When a brown patch shows up on that lawn and begins to spread, property owners are understandably concerned. Because the heat in our Tampa Bay communities can be scorching, you may assume that the grass is burnt. In summer, you may think your grass has fungus from all the rain.
But unfortunately, that brown patch may be caused by something a bit more invasive – chinch bugs.
The Florida chinch bug is one of our most prolific pests, but their presence and effects are widely misunderstood. Here are a few quick facts to help you to protect your lawn this year and in the future.
Chinch Bug FAQs
* Chinch bugs are nearly impossible to see. They are no more than 1/8 inch long and buried deep in your grass at the soil line. You will likely never see them, only the devastation they leave behind.
* Chinch bug infestations usually appear in areas exposed to direct sunlight, and other water-stressed areas of your lawn. Keeping your lawn well-watered will often help in managing chinch bugs.
* Chinch bugs have aggressive feeding habits. Large numbers of nymphs and adults gather at the base of one plant and drain the sap from the grass until it withers.
* Once the feeding group has killed one area of grass stolons, they move to the next adjacent stolon.
This appears to the homeowner as an ever-widening patch of yellow-brown dead grass.
* The bugs move as a group and will together destroy the entire lawn if left unchecked.
Treating Chinch Bugs
* When treating chinch bug dead patches, apply an appropriate pesticide not only to the dead area, but in a ten foot radius around the patch as bugs have likely moved to greener grass.
* A female chinch bug lays 4 or 5 eggs at a time, but lays often over multiple weeks. She can lay up to 250 eggs in a lifetime. The average incubation period is 11 days.
* Pesticides do not kill the eggs. A second treatment should be applied gestation period to kill any bugs which may have hatched.
Please note: Yellow or brownish spots do not automatically indicate a chinch bug infestation. Dehydration, root rot and other diseases, nematodes and various insect infestations may have similar symptoms.
Do I Have Chinch Bugs?
To test for chinch bug presence, use the flotation method: remove the bottom of a metal coffee can and insert the can 3 inches deep into the soil in the discolored grass. Fill the can with water continuously for five minutes. If there are chinch bugs present, they will float to the top of the water. Try in several areas, as chinch bugs may moved. If you are unsure, ask a lawn care professional to help you to diagnose the infestation.
Keeping a green lawn can sometimes seem like an uphill battle when you are dealing with drought, pests, and fungus. The experts at Big Earth Landscape Supply have all the fertilizers, insecticides, and turf products you need to maintain a lush Florida lawn, year round.