Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home Invasion! False Chinch Bugs by Mary Small

Hot dry weather can be a problem for our garden plants, trees and lawns.  But it can also create problems with insects known as false chinch bugs.  And in turn, they cause problems for humans!

False chinch bugs are small, grayish insects that feed on a variety of plants in Colorado including weeds and mustard family crops such as canola and radishes.  They suck sap from plants but are rarely destructive.  Most of the time, we don’t even know they’re around.

But when the weather is hot and dry, the insects move to cooler, moister locations.  They seek shelter in our homes and irrigated landscapes…sometimes thousands at a time!
 In the landscape, they seem to prefer plants that are flowering or going to seed.  Healthy plants can withstand a lot of feeding pressure.  Chemical controls are not recommended during an “invasion” sparked by hot dry weather.  Generally the insects disperse elsewhere in a short time.

Home invasions of false chinch bugs can be disconcerting, but they won’t be there for longer than a week.  Fortunately, they don’t bite or feed on anything indoors.  Suck them up with a vacuum cleaner, disposing of the bag immediately after vacuuming.

For more information on false chinch bugs, see this Colorado State University Extension fact sheet: