Although chinch bugs will eat any type of sod grass, they are the most damaging insect to St. Augustine grass and has the ability to become resistant to insecticides making them difficult to eradicate. Most chinch bugs’ activity occurs between March and November in North Central Florida.
Tiny white eggs are laid on grass blades or soft soil and will turn bright orange after a gestational period of about 10 days right before hatching. Nymphs mature in 4-5 weeks and females can live up to 2 months laying 250-300 eggs in their lifetime.
To determine if the yellow or reddish-brown discoloration in your sod grass is chinch bugs, examine closely the base of the blades of grass. You will usually find several of them clumped together. You can also use a small hand held vacuum and run it over the sod which has yellowed during the afternoon heat when the insects are most active.
If you suspect you have chinch bugs place a clear glass of soapy water upside down on the surface of the sod and hold for several minutes. The chinch bugs will float to the surface. Be sure to conduct this test in several areas of you lawn where there is evidence of distressed grass.
Because nitrogen increases the growth rate, number of chinch bugs’ eggs laid and their life span, it is important to maintain responsible fertilization practices by using slow release forms of nitrogen based fertilizers. Natural predators like the predatory ear wig and spiders may also help with reducing the population but are not as effective as insecticides. Talasar containing Bifenthrin + zeta-cypermethrin and Deltamethrin are the active ingredients in over the counter insecticides and is the most effective at killing chinch bugs. It is important to follow all manufactures instructions when attempting to treat you grass or contact a professional pest service in the Jacksonville and St Augustine areas.
Chinch bugs damage happens rapidly before your realize there is a problem large portions or even your entire yard maybe consumed by these insects. Jacksonville Sod Service is a reliable and dedicated Jacksonville sod company who can give you a free estimate to determine the problems plaguing your lawn. Our staff will be happy to help discuss your sod grass needs and give you a competitive sod price for new sod installation.