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Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are major pests of turf grasses. They pierce grass blades with their mouthparts and then suck out vital plant juices. As they do, they release a substance that blocks the plant's vascular system and prevents it from drawing up moisture and nutrients it needs; grass dies as a result. These pests may have multiple generations of young each year, and adults overwinter to return in spring. Chinch bugs are also major pests of grain crops, including corn. If chinch bugs infest your lawn, your sweet corn patch may be next.

Identification: Chinch bugs are small insects measuring about 1/8 to 1/4 in length, depending on the species. Common chinch bugs have black bodies with white front wings and a distinctive hourglass shape on their backs. Immature stages of the bugs are reddish and wingless, but they resemble the adults. Use a magnifying glass to examine your lawn's thatch layer; you can see chinch bugs easily.

Signs/Damage: The first hints of chinch bug damage are large, scattered, irregular patches of lawn grass that begin to turn yellow and brown. Damage is most apparent in sunny locations during hot summer months, when it's often mistaken for drought. However, grass won't respond to irrigation, the patches expand, and grass eventually dies. Chinch bug-damaged grass may have a purplish tint. Corn damaged by chinch bugs takes on the same reddish- purple hue. Young plants may be killed or stunted.

Control: Treat lawns proactively early in the season to kill chinch bugs before damage occurs and the pests multiply. GardenTech® brand offers highly effective controls that kill chinch bugs by contact and keep protecting your lawn and garden for up to three months*:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Granules, applied with a regular lawn spreader, provides uniform, thorough coverage for your lawn and home perimeter. Water the granules in immediately after application to release the active ingredients into the thatch layer where chinch bugs dwell. Apply at the rate range recommended on the product label. The higher rate may be needed during summer when both immature and adult chinch bugs are present. 
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate simplifies treating chinch bugs that move from lawns into sweet corn. Use with a pump-style sprayer, and cover all plant surfaces thoroughly. You can treat sweet corn up to three days before your harvest.

Tip: Practice good lawn maintenance and dethatch your lawn regularly to eliminate the heavy thatch layer where adult chinch bugs overwinter and lay their eggs.

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals on edible crops.

*These products provides up to 3 month control on all listed insects except ticks.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

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