Chinch Bugs in Northeast Ohio
By Rick Pietrick
Chinch bugs are some of the oldest known insect pests in North America with crop damage dating back to around 1780. In our residential lawns, we may notice the insects patchy, brown damage in the dry months of the summer. Here is some information on this pesky pest and ways to keep your yard chinch bug free this summer.
What does chinch bug damage look like?
Chinch bugs lay their eggs in the spring and usually start producing noticeable damage in the hot temperatures of summer. The bug uses its straw-like mouthpart to pierce the plant tissue and suck out the juices and water. While piercing the plant, the bug injects a chemical into the plant clogging the vascular system. Damage appears yellowish-brown, spreading into larger irregular brown patches as the insects advance.
How to control chinch bugs
Maintaining a healthy lawn with proper watering and fertilization is usually enough to tolerate a substantial population of chinch bugs without damage. There are even newer grass varieties that are resistant to chinch bugs. If the damage is beyond cultural control a targeted application of insect control will wipe out the population.
Sometimes chinch bug damage is masked by summer browning or mower damage. If you are not sure if your lawn is dormant or has an insect problem, run your fingers through the areas where the brown grass meets the green. Advancing chinch bug populations will be noticeable in these fresher areas.