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Damage from many many common Lawn pests and diseases mimic each other, along with offering similarities to non-pathogenic problems such as drought and compaction.  The Hairy Chinch Bug is one of these pests that causes very generic damage to lawns during the hot season, making identification next to impossible for the untrained eye.

 

Identification

Hairy Chinch Bugs are very small, about 1/8″, making scouting with the naked eye challenging.  Adults resemble slender black beetles with white wings and hairy body parts.  Scouting for clinch bugs in your lawn can be done using a coffee can, or similar metal container, with the bottom cut out.  Push the can about halfway into the ground, and fill with water.  Bugs should float to the top within a few minutes.

Read up on another common lawn pest here: https://greenteamct.com/2019/01/08/fungal-diseases-that-can-damage-your-lawn-during-after-winter/

 

Damage

This pest prefers dry, hot weather that persists on southernly slopes.  Also, heavy thatch build-up will provide desirable living conditions for Chinch Bugs.  The damage will appear as irregular yellowing on areas that get the most sun.  The appearance and timing of this damage can easily be confused with heat drought.

 

Control

Cultural/Organic: Keeping thatch build-up at a minimum by regularly raking your lawn, and regular watering, will tip the balance in your favor when using non-chemical controls for Chinch Bug.  Some varieties of Rye Grass have a natural fungus that repels these and similar pests.  Lastly, there are beneficial organisms like Big Eye Bug and the Fungus Beuvaria Bassiana that are natural enemies of The Hairy Chinch.

Chemical Control: Established Chinch Bug populations are well documented as incredibly difficult to control, especially on Golf Courses.  Even powerful chemical applications need to be precisely timed and applied at the correct rate to be effective.  A common pesticide known as Talstar (Bifenthrin) is routinely the go-to for Pest Control Professionals.

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