Does your lawn look dead even after you have watered it? Are there ugly dry patches disfiguring your garden?
Maybe you have an infestation with the dreaded chinch bug?
After reading this, you will know for sure if you have chinch bugs and the best insecticides to use to get rid of them. Our research looks at these best chinch bug insecticides:
- Talstar Pro Insecticide Concentrate
- Talstar PL Granules Insecticide
- BioAdvanced 700270B Complete Insect Killer
- Bonide (BND60360) – Insect and Grub Control
- Roundup for Lawns Bug Destroyer
How to find out if your lawn is host to the chinch bug
Chinch bugs, tiny though they are, cause the most damage to St Augustine grass lawns. Chinch bugs pierce the grass blades, suck it dry and inject poison. Millions of dollars are spent in the fight against these voracious pests.
The chinch bug is most active during hot, dry weather. Their damage is often mistaken for drought, and if treatment is delayed, the damage can be irreparable.
The first signs of chinch bug infestation are dry yellow patches appearing on your lawns. The patches spread and become brown and dead. As the chinch bugs suck up the plant fluids, they spread outwards in search of lusher growth. Eventually, if untreated, the whole lawn may be rendered a dead, dry desert.
And the bad news is that chinch bugs reproduce fast – one female can lay 300 eggs in 40 days. And the eggs are resistant to the best insecticides for chinch bugs. So your lawns are likely to be re-infested two or three times in one season.
Drought or chinch bug damage?
Yellow or brown patches on your lawn? You need to check – is it drought or chinch bugs? Your first step is to water the area. If there is no improvement within a couple of days, then your lawn is probably hosting chinch bugs.
How to inspect an area closely.
- Choose a place where the dry patch joins with a healthy-looking part of your lawn, as that is where the chinch bugs migrate to.
- Look on the underside of the grass.
- Check individual stems by peeling off the leaf sheath.
- Thrash a few stems against a white surface, and you may see the chinch bugs, or sweep your hands over the grass by a pathway, pulling debris onto the path.
- You may need to check several areas of your lawn, and a magnifying glass may help as the chinch bugs are small.
The tin can method
- You need a metal cylinder – a tin can open at both ends is fine.
- Shove the can into the lawn where dead and healthy lawn meet.
- Fill the can with water and keep it topped up for about 10 minutes.
- Keep stirring the water and the submerged turf.
- The chinch bugs will float to the top.
Effective chinch bug lawn treatment
The best way to get rid of chinch bugs is by the thorough applications of systemic insecticides, repeated at intervals.
There are two ways an insecticide works.
- Systemic insecticides are ingested by the insect as it feeds.
- Contact toxins rely on physical contact – and it is difficult to attain uniform and complete contact.
Pros of systemic chinch bug insecticides
A lower risk to natural enemies. This is important because natural enemies, like certain spiders, can help to control the population of the chinch bug.
Systemic insecticides last longer inside the plant tissue, so the chinch bug control carries on for longer.
Cons of systemic insecticides
Possibly toxic to pollinators.
The two ways of applying the insecticide
Spray the whole lawn – at times determined by the calendar.
This is the blunderbuss approach – simple and effective – but costly and ecologically and environmentally damaging. It can lead to insect resistance and damage to other creatures.
Spot treatments as and when required.
This method requires a little more thought, but it costs less, reduces damage to the environment, and is ecologically sound. The problem is that it requires time to manage effectively, so a commercial pest controller might not choose to use this method.
You will need to check your lawn every 3-5 days for two weeks or more and treat again at the earliest sign of reinfestation.
Types of insecticides
The insecticide may come in liquid or granular form.
A liquid may need to be diluted and thoroughly mixed in a sprayer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some brands come ready to apply. Spot control may be easier when the insecticide comes in spray form.
The risk of resistance
This a very real concern. Many chinch bugs have become resistant to insecticides, including pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, organochlorines, and organophosphates.
For this reason that the best way to get rid of chinch bugs is to rotate the insecticides you use, choosing ones that act in different ways.
And always read and obey the instructions on the containers.
Is the chinch bug treatment safe for pets?
DEET ((chemical name, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) can be lethal to pets.
If you have dogs, there are certain pesticides to avoid as they can cause serious illnesses. This may not be apparent immediately. These include organophosphates such as malathion and disulfoton, which kill by attacking the central nervous system.
And note that dogs are attracted to fertilizers. So a pesticide/fertilizer combination may not be the best bet for your pet. Call a vet if in doubt.
Features to look for when choosing the best bug treatment:
- Easy to apply
Also, check whether the product contains chemicals with systemic or contact effects or both.
An example would be a combination of neonicotinoids or bifenthrin + imidacloprid, fast-acting contact, and long-lasting systemic ingredients.
People ask if soapy water kill chinch bugs.
Yes – it does. But soapy water is a poor alternative.
You will need a strong mix of soap that could damage your lawn and repeated sprays to kill the chinch bugs. It is expensive, time-consuming, and potentially damaging.
Chinch Bug Insecticide Reviews
Talstar Pro Insecticide Concentrate 96 oz (2 jugs)
This chinch bug lawn treatment is easy to apply and very effective.No products found.
Talstar is the most popular insecticide on the market today with good reason. The active ingredient is Bifenthrin 7.9%, which is safer than many other pesticides.
It is easy to apply and the instructions are very clear. Different concentrations are required for various purposes, but the 65-page booklet supplied should make it easy to find the right dilution needed for your use.
It can vary from 0.2 oz per gallon to 2 oz per gallon. You might find the booklet a bit lengthy and you will need to find the time to find and study the part relating to chinch bugs. There is a handy measuring cup attached to make it easier.
Talstar is effective in controlling over 70 insect pests. And it goes on killing them even after rain. The effects last up to 3 months provided it dries out completely after application.
- Safe and easy to use
- Effective on a wide range of insects
- Helpful instructions
- May not be as effective on ants
Talstar PL Granules Insecticide
Talstar granules for effective, long-term protection.
Long term protection lasts up to 4 months – the longest-lasting protection on the market. The active ingredient is Bifenthrin 0.2%, which is the maximum allowed but the EPA for this formulation. Structured with a sand core it penetrates the grass and mulch effectively and you do not need to water it in.
Talstar is effective for the treatment of surface-feeding pests including the chinch bug as well as ticks, fleas, ants, and mites.
You can use it as a spot treatment or broadcast it generally over the whole lawn – but you need to use the right equipment to be sure you cover the area effectively. It is suggested a respray the chinch bug killer every 3 months.
You will need a spreading device –either handheld or push along, to ensure the spreading is even, for small areas handheld device is easier to use.
- Safe to use
- Effective on majority of insects
- Very economical
- Need a spreading device to be able to use
BioAdvanced 700270B Complete Insect Killer
Two-way formula controls both surface and soil insects.
The BioAdvanced 700270B Complete Insect Killer is a fast, efficient bug killer. The active ingredients are Imidacloprid 0.15% Beta-Cyfluthrin 0.05%. It kills within 24 hours and claims up to 90 days protection for just the one application.
It won’t hurt your flowers if you accidentally spray them, and you can also use it for driveways and crack-and-crevice treatment.
The insect killer kills bugs above and below ground. Once the product has been absorbed into the plant, rain will not affect its action – and this takes about an hour.
Unfortunately, as with so many of the strong chinch bug killers, earthworms are also decimated.
- Extremely fast action
- Works well both above and below the ground
- Repels insects for 3 months
- Contains organic ingredients
- Pet and children safe when completely dry
- Leaves no residue
- It will also kill earthworms and other “no-pest” insects
- Should not be allowed to run off into sewers or drains
Bonide (BND60360) – Insect and Grub Control
A long-lasting bug killer but safe for earthworms.
Bonide is fast-acting and long-lasting. The active ingredient is imidacloprid. This works as a systemic poison that blocks nerve action in insects, but not on other animals.
You can use Bonide on lawns and around – but not inside your house. It kills insects above and below ground – but does not affect your valuable earthworms. It also contains fast-acting Lambda-Cyhalothrin. This means that the effects work inside 24 hours and then last about 3 months from the systemic toxin.
Once you have applied the pesticide, you should water it well in with half an inch of water. When it has completely dried out, it is safe for children and dogs. You can even use this chinch bug killer on vegetables the day before you harvest them.
You can apply it with a spreader, either a drop or broadcast fertilizer spreader. It does have an unpleasant smell though.
- Safe for earthworms
- Effective on the majority of insects
- Easy to use
- Unpleasant smell
Roundup for Lawns Bug Destroyer
Dual-action bug killer – contains glyphosate – possibly linked to cancer.
Roundup has been a very popular bug-killer in the United States for years!
Roundup kills over 100 insects – and earthworms. And it goes on killing for 3 months, but it won’t harm your lawn. One application will suffice for 3 months.
The active ingredient is glyphosate and there have been suggestions that it may provoke cancer. The ongoing research is as yet inconclusive. However, provided you keep to the instructions on the label it is probably safe to use in the small amounts you will need for a residential lawn. The EPA has up-to-date advice.
If you choose to use this pesticide, precautions should be taken to keep children and pets away from the area and close your windows and doors if the lawn is close to the house. You could wear protective clothing and wash thoroughly – including shoes- when you are finished. If you use a high-pressure spray, then the particles will stay in the air for a while before they settle.
- Popular choice due to effectiveness
- Possible link to cancer
- Precautions advised
Our choice as the best insecticide for chinch bugs is Talstar Pro Insecticide Concentrate.
No products found.
Talstar comes as a concentration, meaning you need to dilute it, but it is easy to use, and no spreader is necessary.
Talstar concentrate is effective and safe. It lasts for three months even after rain, once dried after application. The manufacturers also proactively state that you can call them if you have any questions on using the product. We like this brand’s customer service.
Strong pesticides will kill indiscriminately, but a pesticide is always going to be the fastest way to get rid of chinch bugs. If you would like to be friendlier to the earthworms, you could opt for the Bonide (BND60360) because earthworms are safe.