Clinch Bugs

INSECT APPEARANCE: Adult chinch bugs are small, from 1/16 to 1/4 inch long, depending on the species. Most are black with white wings, each of which has a distinctive triangular black mark. Young chinch bugs are smaller, wingless versions of their parents, but are red with a white back stripe.

LIFE CYCLE: Adult chinch bugs overwinter in both the North and South and emerge as early as March. For the rest of the growing season, they feed by sucking the juice from grass blades, injecting a poison that causes blades to turn brown and die. They are especially active during hot, dry weather.

DAMAGE THRESHOLD: To find chinch bugs, push a bottomless 2-pound coffee can into the affected lawn area, about 2 inches deep. Fill it with warm water. Any chinch bugs present should float to the surface. If more than 20 chinch bugs appear, control is warranted.

CONTROL: Sabadilla, chlorpyrifos, diazinon. Reduce nitrogen fertilizer, and plant resistant grass.

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