Chinch bugs are little tiny black pests that love to feast on St. Augustine grass. For Central Floridians, this is not a good thing. St. Augustine is a preferred grass here in the region, which means we must carefully watch for cinch bug infestations.
Because the bugs are so tiny, in many cases, the homeowner won’t even know there’s a problem until they see patches of grass that appear to be dying. These dead patches will continue to grow as the chinch bugs move from the dead or dying grass to the healthy grass blades nearby to feast.
Determining if you have chinch bugs
If you see patches of dead or drying grass, your first step is to determine what’s causing the patches. It’s possible you’re grass is simply not getting enough water. It’s also possible you could have some other type of bug infestation and it’s possible you could have cinch bugs.
The first thing you want to look for is where the dead grass is located. If it’s in shady areas, cinch bugs are not your issue. These bugs only like full-sun. In fact, if the dry spots are in full-sun near sidewalks or streets (which radiate extra heat); cinch bugs are a likely issue.
If you suspect cinch bugs, the best thing to do is to go looking for them. Get down on your hands and knees, part the grass blades and look for the little black bugs. You will want to look on the edge of the healthy and non healthy areas to get the most accurate results.
Treating cinch bug infestation
Although there are over the counter treatment options, it’s almost always best to call a professional for a cinch bug infestation. This is because chinch bugs are sometimes very difficult to get rid of. A professional will treat the cinch bugs not just by using some type of treatment, but will also provide great information on how to better treat and prevent future infestations that is targeted towards your specific situation.
Preventing chinch bug infestation
The best prevention technique is to keep your grass mowed and to do so at regular intervals. If you go too long between mowing, the decaying tips of the grass may provide good cover for the chinch bug, which also makes any treatment less effective. If you think you’ve gone too long between mowing, aerating your lawn is indicated.
The second best prevention technique is to keep your yard healthy and watered. Chinch bugs like hot and dry grassy areas. By keeping your grass well watered, you will encourage them to move elsewhere.