With summer approaching, the last thing you want to deal with is lawn pests. One of the most destructive lawn pests in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is the chinch bug. While tiny in size, a swarm of these insects can kill entire lawns if they go unnoticed.

Chinch bugs are small but pack a big punch. We want to make sure that if chinch bugs invade your yard, you’re informed and ready to dial a professional. Here’s what you need to know about chinch bugs this summer season.

What do chinch bugs look like?

The most common chinch bug species in New England is the hairy chinch bug. With an almond shape body, unique back markings, and wings that cross over one another, this adult insect is easy to spot anywhere. The younger stages of chinch bugs are smaller, wingless, and have reddish-pink bodies. All chinch bugs have long antennae that branch outward from their triangular head.

What damage do chinch bugs do to my lawn?

Unlike other pest species, chinch bugs don’t munch on your grass blades– nor do they eat the roots. If you love your lawn, the chinch bug’s unique feeding mechanism might send shivers down your spine! These creatures use piercing mouthpieces that resemble a needle to impale grass blades and suck up their water, leaving them dry to the bone. Afterward, they inject poisonous saliva that slowly kills the grass.

When you discover a chinch bug infestation, it’s time to act fast. Your best option to save your lawn is to call up your local lawn care professionals MissionGreen Services, who are ready to crack down on your invasive intruders. If the infestation is not discovered, chinch bugs can drain your entire lawn without ever being caught.

How do I spot a chinch bug infestation?

The first sign of a chinch bug infestation is severe turf dehydration. If you water your lawn to no end and your grass is still dry as hay, there’s a chance that chinch bugs have been taking a drink. Chinch bugs can be hard to spot because they don’t crawl on the surface of lawns like other pests. They live on the surface of the turf’s thatch layer, which is hidden from an onlooker’s eyes.

If you’ve discovered sunny grass patches that look drought-stricken, try the coffee canister method to test for an infestation. Take a cylindrical metal can and push it into the ground. As you lift it up, you should have a sample of several square inches of your soil. Mix this soil with several inches of water in a bucket and wait for the chinch bugs to float to the surface. If you count 15 or more in the bucket, you have an infestation on your hands.

How can I prevent chinch bugs?

Chinch bugs live and reproduce in the safe, hidden thatch layer of lawns. Thatch is a dense layer of built-up organic material, such as dead leaves, grass clippings, and roots. Maintaining healthy lawn practices such as fertilization and aeration are crucial to chinch prevention because they promote decomposition of this thatch layer.

If your thatch layer is over ½ inch thick, it may be time for a dethatching. Dethatching is the process of removing the thatch with a rake or an attachable mower dethatcher. A dethatching every couple of years thins out the dead matter so your grass can breathe, access water, and prevent chinch bug infestations.

How can I get rid of chinch bugs?

When you discover a chinch bug infestation, there’s only really one solution: Pesticides. Whether you want the most effective application on the market or prefer to avoid any and all toxins, there are plenty of options to choose from.

A broad-spectrum pesticide works quickly and efficiently to kill multiple harmful pest species in the area including chinch bugs. These pesticides can be found in your local lawn and garden store, but are also provided by lawn care professionals who will handle the grunt work of applying them for you.

Chinch bugs can be hard to identify, but we’ve got sharp eyes.

If you think your lawn has been invaded by these pesky bugs, we can help. Our team at MissionGreen is specially trained to spot, diagnose, and remedy Rhode Island and Massachusetts lawn pest problems. We can’t wait to serve you and your family with outstanding results. Shoot us a message at getgreen@missiongreenservices.com for a FREE quote today!