Total Landscape Care

February 2014

Total Landscape Care Digital Magazine

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Page 12 of 47

chemical care G ive a chinch an inch, and they'll take a yard. This old southern saying about chinch bugs speaks to the destructive na- ture of these pests that threaten turf in the South and Southeast. Even though chinch bugs are found throughout the United States, it's the southern chinch bug that has notoriously evaded control by developing resistance to some of the most com- monly used insecticides. However, a ton of products are available to rid this pest from commercial turf and residential lawns. If you're not getting the results from the product you're using and you live in Florida, there's a chance that chinch bugs have become resistant to it. Most likely, though, you simply need to evalu- ate and adjust your method of application. Doing damage Experts consistently describe the cost of controlling the southern chinch bug in the millions. In Florida alone, $5 million annually is spent on control and on replacing chinch-damaged turf. Richard Duble, professor and extension turfgrass specialist at Texas A&M University, calls the southern chinch bug the most destructive pest of St. Augustinegrass lawns, with more than $50 million spent each year for its control. Southern chinch bugs are active most of the year. In especially warmer regions, like south Florida, they can be active all year long, feeding on St. Augustinegrass. With overlapping life stages, they are nearly constantly a threat. Populations tend to clump together to feed in one area before moving on to the next, draining the sap from turf until it withers. "As their host plants die, individuals will walk to neighboring St. Augustinegrass plant to continue feeding," says Ei- leen Buss, Ph.D, associate professor of entomology at the University of Florida. "Thus, dead patches of grass seem to get larger over time." F E B R U A R Y 2 014 To t a l L a n d s c a p e C a r e . c o m 11 Taking Charge of Chinch Bugs Application strategies that these pests won't be able to resist BY CINDY RATCLIFF PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID SHETLAR, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, BUGWOOD.ORG

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