Chinch bugs have spread out on lawns across this area. Chinch bugs thrive during hot summer weather and this year, we've had a lot of warm sunny days.
People wonder why the chinch bugs attack their lawn. Why don't they go after the guy two doors away who never cares for his lawn, has a pile of weeds and yet doesn't have any chinch bugs?
I believe the short answer is that chinch bugs like to eat at respectable lawns where the grass is green, the turf is tasty and the lawn is lush. If you were a chinch bug, where would you go for lunch?
The reality is that chinch bugs prefer lawns that are cared for. One of the risks of taking pride in your home and lawn is that you are more likely to get chinch bugs than the guy who doesn't care about his lawn.
The reason I say this is because of where I found the chinch bugs on a lawn with a septic bed. I was at a house in the summer, out in the country. I see the lawn with brown stripes running up and down the lawn, a few feet apart. Looks the septic line bed on the lawn.
Definitely chinch bug, I said to myself. But, let's check.
So, I wondered as I walked to the lawn, "Will the chinch bugs be in the lawn that gets fed from the septic tank lines? Or, will the chinch bugs be in the grass in between the septic lines where the lawn is drier and generally grows less?"
Well, guess what, the chinch bugs liked the nice lawn that was getting nourished by the septic tank lines.
So that's why I think chinch bugs prefer lawns that are well cared for. Lawns that receive more care, including more fertilizer, more watering.
*Reminds me of that old story, where the art teacher looks at the student's blank paper and asks Johnnie what he's drawing. "Ì'm drawing a picture of a cow eating grass, Ma'am." "Well, where's the grass?" "The cow ate it all up." "Then, where's the cow?" "You can't expect to find a cow where there's no grass, Ma'am."
When looking for chinch bugs, don't look in the dead grass; look in the green grass next to the dead grass.
There may be other reasons why chinch bugs prefer your lawn to your neighbours.
1. Chinch bugs like the sun. If your lawn is sunny, the chinch bugs will prefer your lawn to a lawn that is shady. In fact, you may find that the less sunny spots in your lawn are less damaged by the chinch bugs than the extremely sunny areas.
2. Chinch bugs live in the thatch. That's the zone between the soil and the green part of grass. If your lawn has more thatch, it provides the perfect home for the chinch bugs to live and grow and lay eggs. Regular core aerations done annually is one of the best ways to keep excess thatch under control
3. Chinch bugs prefer certain types of grass species. They never go for the thick bladed grasses like quack grass, orchard grass, or crabgrass. If your lawn has a high population of these grasses- which by the way are not the types of grasses most people prefer for their lawns, then your lawn may retain some semblance of green even if the chinch bugs have been feeding on the finer-bladed, more desirable grasses.
4. Chinch bugs seem to prefer bentgrass more than Kentucky bluegrass. They will still attack the bluegrass, but bentgrass is often left in worse condition. This may be because bentgrass is prone to having more thatch. Or it may be that the bentgrass- being shallow rooted is more likely to show symptoms of chinch bug damage.
5 Chinch bugs are repelled by perennial ryegrass that have endophytes. When overseeding make sure to use a mixture that contains endophytic perennial ryegrass.
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