Chinch Bug Activity Abounds - Protect Your Gainesville Lawn!
Gainesville lawn Chinch bugs love the heat of the Florida climate and prefer dry sunny areas of St. Augustine grass, which is we have seen so many active colonies of Lawn pests these past few weeks around Alachua County.
Chich bugs damage grass by feeding on the plant juices through a needle-shaped beak causing lawns to develop yellow and brown patches that resemble drought stress. Chinch bug eggs begin to hatch in Florida during early spring and multiply continuing well into summer when they start to be seen in 1 out of every 3 Gainesville lawns that aren't on a Lawn Pest Prevenative Program.
Their eggs hatch in 10 days and the young develop into adults in as little as 3 weeks. Although chinch bugs are most commonly found feeding on St. Augustine grass, they will infest other grass species. They rarely cause enough damage in grasses besides St. Augustine to matter though. See the photos above for great photos of the stages of growth for a chinch bug.
The nymphs start out red in color changing to orange as they begin to mature. They molt 5 times before reaching adulthood. An adult Gainesville chinch bug is about 1/5 inches long and has black a body with white wings.
Chinch bugs can produce 7 generations in a year to feast on your Gainesville lawn. The time frame from hatching to maturity is about 3 weeks. One female chinch bug can lay up to 500 eggs.
Infested areas usually start along drive ways,sidewalks, and other concrete edges where its is warmest. Frequent application of nitrogen fertilizers can cause St Augustine grass to be more susceptible to chinch bug invasion, as well as drought problems.
Diligent lawn mowing keeping St. Augustine grass at a height of 3 to 4 inches will not only give better appearance but will make the grass more tolerant toward chinch bugs.
Problems are usually noticed first along concrete edges or in areas without adequate moisture receiving full sun.
Professional Gainesville Florida lawn spraying is the best solution for controlling chinch bugs.
There are a number of products on the market that will kill Gainesville chinch bugs at various stages of the life cycle including the eggs. Granulated insecticides are usually the most effective for long term results for the do-it-yourself solution.
Without a program in place to regularly spray lawn pest control and keep lawns healthy, chinch bug control in the summer will always be a losing battle. That's why we're doing this blog series on noticing problems in Gainesville lawns. For more information, feel fee to read the articles about Gainesville Sod Webworm protection and Gainesville Lawn Weed Identification too.
-The Masters Lawn Care Team