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Hairy Chinch Bugs

Hairy Chinch bugs are a tiny pest. The nymphs are about 1mm with a bright red and black pattern. As the chinch bug molts they get darker in color. The adults are roughly 3-4mm in length and they are black and white. Both the adult and nymph have a piercing and sucking mouth part, they feed on the stems, stolons, and crowns of the grass plant.

The hairy chinch bug usually has two generations in a season and can live in very high populations. In serious cases you could see several hundred per square foot. Chinch bugs will go over winter as adults. This is a pest that has become a significant problem especially in the Northeast because its favorite host plants consist of most cool season turf grasses.

  • Tiny, adults are only 3-4 mm.
  • Sucks out the juices of the grass plant.
  • Has two generations each year.
  • Can have huge populations.
  • Loves our cool season grass.

Prevention Tips

  • Have a variety of grass in your lawn. Some rye grass and fescue varieties contain a naturally occurring fungus that helps resist damage. This fungus is called an endophyte, you will need to read the seeds packaging to see if it is included, if not you may want to do a little research with your local garden center or professional landscaper.
  • Water your lawn. Chinch bug damage is sometimes confused with drought damage because chinch bugs love hot, dry weather.
  • Thatch your lawn. Chinch bugs over winter in thatch, the thicker the thatch layer, the greater the population of chinch bugs.
  • Proper Fertilization. Chinch bugs in small populations cause a small amount of damage. The healthier your grass is the quicker and easier it will be for the lawn to recooperate.
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