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Chinch bug season is upon us!

As many residents in Ottawa may remember, the summer of 2016 was one where the chinch bugs seemed to take our lawns by storm. It was the highest populations of chinch bugs we recall seeing in the past 30 years. It’s very important to keep an eye on your lawn’s condition right now to make sure any damage being caused by chinch bugs is looked after quickly. To do this you need to put a stop to the chinch bugs who are feasting on your beautiful lawn as soon as possible.

When the baby chinch bugs hatch they are a bright red color and this is when they are at their worst, though due to their very small size it can be hard to spot them for the untrained eye. They feed by sucking the sap from the crowns and stems and then injecting a substance into the plants that stops water movement within the structure of the grass which causes the grass to therefore die – in other words they are quite literally sucking the life out of your lawn. They thrive in hot and dry weather and when they are detected it is usually in the sunny areas of your lawn. Their damage is often confused with dry spots; however, watering does not correct this problem.

Chinch bugs lay eggs over a period of several weeks and they hatch in this gradual succession as well. This is why you can have several different stages of chinch bugs all at the same time. They generally feed for about 3 weeks before they are near maturity. At this point they begin to swarm around the base of your home or in mulched beds where they are looking for a place to over-winter. When you see them grouping together like this, they are past the point of being harmful for your lawn and it’s a sign that they will soon be hibernating.  In the spring they wake up and start the entire cycle over again.

The damage caused by these little bugs can be detrimental, with some people needing to do extensive work or even go as far as tearing up their lawns and laying down new sod to solve the issue and get their lawn back.

Damage begins as a small area of yellowing grass. It will then turn brown and drive the turf into dormancy – even if you’re watering. As this happens the chinch bugs expand the perimeter of their feasting grounds and continue sucking the juice out of the grass, causing the patches to grow into large brown areas. Also unlike drought stress, which chinch bug damage can be mistaken for, watering your lawn will not bring these areas back.

If you feel like you may have chinch bugs, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us right away! We will gladly come out to take a look, and confirmed if it is chinch bugs or some other issue causing the brown spots.  We can add this service to your plan with us if required – but first we need to properly identify the problem so contact us right away.  Email or call us at 613.744.7336 as soon as you can to make sure this gets taken care of before it’s too late.

January 2018
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Green Unlimited
3-2709 Stevenage Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1G 3N2

Phone: 613.744.7336