Summer means it's time for cookouts and parties in the yard. However, summer is also the time when pests are likely to invade your home and lawn. Chinch bugs are the most common lawn invader, and carpenter ants are most common to be found in your home. These pests can put a damper on your outdoor fun, so it's important to learn the telltale signs before they damage your home.
The chinch bug is the most common lawn pest you'll encounter. They like to feed on the sap in your grass, which is one of the easiest ways to spot a chinch bug invasion. Chinch bug damage will look like circular patches of dry, dead grass surrounded by healthy grass. These pests prefer portions of your lawn that are sunny, warm and dry.
A chinch bug's life cycle consists of three stages: egg, nymph and adult. They lay up to 200 eggs in hot, dry patches of soil. The eggs produce nymphs, and it is this stage that causes the most damage to your yard. Nymphs feed voraciously by piercing blades of grass with their mouths and sucking out the sap. Not only do they drain the grass, but they inject toxic saliva that can prevent the grass from growing back. This will leave your lawn vulnerable to weeds and other pests.
Adult chinch bugs are about 3 mm long and have black bodies with shiny, white backs. Nymphs are smaller versions of the adults, measuring around 1 mm. Their bodies are red with the same shiny, white band across the back.
Carpenter ants can be found indoors where there is moist or hollow wood. It is a common misconception that carpenter ants eat wood. While they do cut into wood to hollow out passageways and nests, they do not actually eat the wood. They prefer to eat what humans eat, especially sweets and meat, and they will even feed on other insects. Which is why they are likely to be found in your home.
Carpenter ants are usually easy to spot because they are one of the largest species of ant. The smallest ones are about 3 mm long, while the largest ones can be up to 13 mm long. Colonies do not typically cause severe damage to homes as long as they are treated early.
In both cases, it's best to seek out professional help. If you live in the greater Florida or Georgia area and are concerned about possible chinch bug or carpenter ant infestations, don't wait. The professionals at Bug Out Service will come out to assess your lawn and put together a plan of action that will leave your yard healthy and pest-free all summer long.