Urban Pest News June 2013

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bug damage can be quite common in Texas lawns during hot, dry conditions. Often damage will start sunny locations or near driveways and sidewalk areas. Damage shows up as irregular dead patches in the lawn surrounded by yellowing or dying grass. Chinch bug damage can also be mistaken for other lawn problems such as white grubs or fungal diseases, so confirmation of chinch bug activity is needed before progressing to proper treatment.

Adult Chinch Bug Charles Olsen, Organization: USDA APHIS PPQ, courtesy of Bugwood.org

Adult Chinch Bug Charles Olsen, Organization: USDA APHIS PPQ, courtesy of Bugwood.org

To determine if turf damage is from chinch bugs, visually inspect the turf. Look at the border between the dead and dying grass. Part the grass with your hands and look for chinch bugs crawling around. Another method to check for chinch bugs uses a coffee can. Cut both ends out of the coffee can and push the can into the turf where the grass is yellowing. Fill the can with water for about 10 minutes and check for chinch bugs floating to the surface. If more than 5 chinch bugs float up in a 4-6 inch diameter can, control methods should be taken.

Chinch bugs are small (about 1/5 inch). Adults are black with white wings that have triangular black marks on them. Nymphs, or immatures,  that have recently hatched are pinkish with a white band across their back. With each molt, nymphs grow more similar in appearance to the adults, even-tually becoming black to brownish -black.

To avoid chinch bug problems, resistant varieties of turf may be used. If turf cannot be re-placed, try to keep thatch to a minimum to re-duce living areas for the chinch bugs. Tech-niques for reducing thatch include: proper mowing, using a mulching mower when possi-ble, aerating the lawn, top dressing the lawn, fertilize properly and water properly.

UF IFAS, image of chinch bug damage to a lawn

UF IFAS, image of chinch bug damage to a lawn

Treatment is usually a liquid or granular for-mulation. Granular formulations are put out with push spreaders and need to be watered in after treatment. Treatment can be per-formed in the area where damage is occurring along with a few feet out from the damage area; the entire yard does not have to be treated. All label instructions should be read and followed before and during the treatment.

House Flies

When temperatures heat up, house flies breed and develop quickly causing them to become a problem in and around homes and retail establishments. House flies can be more than just a nuisance when spreading diseases such as dysentery or food poisoning. House flies can spread disease when they move to different are as they may feed and lay eggs on garbage, manure or carrion, and then go into homes and land on food, countertops or other surfaces. House flies regurgitate onto food to liquefy it before eating and can further contaminate items by defecating upon surfaces.

Life cycle of the House fly

Life cycle of the House fly

The common house fly has two wings, is dull gray with black stripes on the thorax (the section where the wings are attached). Eggs are usually laid on animal fecal material or garbage. Maggots, the immature stage of a fly, are small, white, carrot-shaped and legless.

  • You should encourage customers to help with fly management by doing the following:
  • Pick up animal waste at least once a week
  • Empty garbage cans & recycle bins regularly
  • Clean garbage cans & recycle bins monthly with soapy water
  • Keep garbage cans/ dumpsters away from doors that lead into the structure
  • Keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans/ dumpsters
  • Keep window screens in good repair

You may need to make the above suggestions along with treating dumpster or garbage/ recycle bins with pesticide. Fly lights are also an option for some locations.

  Mode of Action: Pyrethroids

Pyrethroids include active ingredients such as allethrin, permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, del-tamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, esfenvalerate, among others.

Pyrethrins are a naturally occurring compound that is derived from plants in the chrysanthemum family. Pyrethroids mimic pyrethrins, but are modified to be more stable in the environment, so they have a longer residual effect.

Pyrethrins (naturally derived) and pyrethroids (synthetic or man-made) products work in a simi-lar manner. These compounds prevent sodium channels within the nervous system from clos-ing, causing continual nerve stimulation which leads to tremors, paralysis and death.

Sodium channels are on nerve cells. To work, the sodium ions flow into the neuron when the channel opens, to help neutralize the charge on the membrane. When more sodium builds up inside a cell than potassium, balance is lost, and the neuron is “charged” causing it to fire the nerve impulse synapse (the space between two nerve cells). So, pyrethroids block the sodium channel to stay open and the nerves keep firing and won’t turn off.

Information provided by Wizzie Brown, Program Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


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