Surface Feeding Lawn Insects

Chinch Bugs

The southern chinch bug is one of the most destructive lawn insects of St. Augustine grass in Texas. Although it is a serious pest only on St. Augustine lawns, the southern chinch bug may feed on other types of turf grasses. Damage can develop rapidly, especially in sunny locations during hot, dry weather. Chinch bug damage also can be difficult to distinguish from that caused by drought. Detecting significant numbers of the insects themselves is the best proof of chinch bug damage.

Control

Managing this pest begins with proper lawn care. By keeping thatch to a minimum, for example, you reduce chinch bug numbers and make other control methods more effective. Proper mowing practices can help reduce thatch buildup. Lawn aerations in combination with application of a top dressing also can help reduce thick layers of thatch.

Treatment

The use of insecticides has proven to be effective if chinch bug infestations are caught in time. During the growing season it is very important for customers with any discoloration of turf grass to contact the office so that a Weedex professional can examine the lawn for chinch bugs or other lawn insects especially customers with St. Augustine lawns.

Bermuda Mites

This mite is host specific to Bermuda grass and found throughout the southern United States on all varieties of Bermuda grass. The first symptom of a Bermuda grass mite infestation is grass that fails to begin normal growth although it is well fertilized and properly watered. The mites feed under leaf sheaths and suck sap from the stems. Mite injury is much more severe during hot, dry periods. The injury can initially be mistaken for water or nutrient stress.

Control

Mites are spread by way of clipping, by hitchhiking on insects in the grass, by the wind and by water. It is a good practice to remove the clippings from an infested area. Proper watering and fertility management will help infested grass recover and may prevent damage in the first place.

Treatment

The use of insecticides has proven to be effective if Bermuda mite damaged grass is visible in lawn. One application of insecticide on the lawn can be effective but if damage is severe it could take two applications within a week apart to resolve the issue.

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