Maintain A Healthy Lawn
A healthy lawn can withstand minor infestations of chinch bugs. Research shows that in lawns in good condition 10 to 15 chinch bugs per square foot will not cause any problems. Develop a lawn care routine that includes core aerating the lawn at least once, preferably twice, a year to break up compaction, improve soil drainage, add air to the soil and discourage thatch buildup. Leave a ½ inch layer of finely chopped leaves on the lawn every fall (need a mulching mower) to add valuable organic matter. If you have no source of leaves, spread about a 1/4 inch layer of peat moss, composted municipal sludge, or sifted compost each year. By adding organic matter to the lawn you virtually eliminate thatch buildup which encourages chinch bugs. Remove any thatch that develops over 1/4 inch thick. Use only slow-acting granular fertilizer on your lawn.
Because chinch bugs prefer turf that is dry and warm, do not allow your lawn to get too dry in the hot summer months. When rainfall is sparse water it well in the late morning to provide moisture to the grass and also keep the soil surface cooler. It makes the area less attractive to chinch bugs, which dislike shade and dampness. Cut northern grass varieties no shorter than 2 inches. Longer grass blades shade the soil and keep it cool.
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Attract Beneficial Insects To The Yard
Beneficial Insects Controlling Chinchbugs Include
Earwig, Ground Beetle, Rove Beetle, Assasin Beetle; Minute Pirate Bug, Ants, Spiders, and Parasitic Wasps
The most voracious of this crew is the black big-eyed bug. An earwig, Labidura, is also an efficient predator of chinch bugs in all their life stages. Adult earwigs have been observed to eat as many as 50 adult chinch bugs in one night. Big-eyed bugs and another common predator, minute pirate bugs are about the same size as chinch bugs and are often confused with them. Quite often these beneficial insects are misidentified and are needlessly killed with insecticide.
A number of parasitic wasp species lay their own eggs inside the chinch bug's eggs. Ants and spiders devour their eggs too. Encourage these beneficial insects to reside in your yard by avoiding the use of broad-spectrum insecticides and planting lots of kinds of flowers to offer them nectar and pollen.
Attract Songbirds to the Yard
A healthy population of songbirds including your yard as part of their territory can go a long way to keeping chinchbugs under control. Songbirds that eat chinchbugs include:
Bluebird, Cardinal, Catbird, Finch, Phoebe, Robin, Song Sparrow, Flicker, Woodpecker, and the Wren