Q: We have a St. Augustine floratam lawn in Temple Terrace. Chinch bugs used to dine on our lawn each year until we used an insect killer containing Arena, but no one is stocking it this year. Do you know why Arena isn’t available at the box stores anymore? I just bought a product containing imidacloprid and beta-cyfluthrin. Do you expect that will control the chinch bugs? How often should it be applied? Do you have a better suggestion to control them?
Answer: The biggest issue can easily be identification of the pest. Please see the University of Florida publication “Southern Chinch Bug Management on St. Augustinegrass” by Eileen A. Buss at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/LH/LH03600.pdf. There are photos and descriptions of chinch bugs in this publication and a list of insecticides that are registered for use in Florida on southern chinch bugs.
Chinch bugs can develop resistance if the same chemical class is used repeatedly. You mentioned both imidacloprid and cyfluthrin, for which there are products a homeowner can purchase and apply. Both are in the pyrethroid chemical class. These products are listed in the table provided, and some retail/homeowner product examples are identified. This is not an all-inclusive list.
To determine how and when to apply these products, you need to read and follow the label.
Arena is a commercial product that is no longer available in Florida. You may want to contact a commercial applicator for one treatment of Aloft if you prefer not treating for chinch bugs yourself. Aloft is a neonicotinoid (like Arena).
You don’t want to apply neonicotinoids when flowers are blooming, so sooner is better. With all chemical use, be careful where and how it is applied because of the environmental impact to wildlife, people, water, etc.
Lynn Barber is the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods agent at Hillsborough Extension. Reach her at BarberL@hillsboroughcounty.org.