Controls for chinch bug are of three types: acute, cultural and redesign. Acute controls treat a developing pest infestation. Cultural controls relieve the conditions that predispose a lawn to attack by the pest. Redesign involves fundamental changes to make the system more self regulating. As more components of cultural control and redesign are introduced, the lawn becomes more resistant to all pests and less demanding of water and fertilizer.
A Mutlilevel Approach
In organic agriculture and horticulture, pest problems are regarded as indicators of improperly functioning systems,[V45] e.g., associated with lack of habitat for natural enemies of pests, stressed condition of plants or nutrient imbalances. Thus, while short term measures - the so-called Acute Controls [V14] - may be applied to address existing pest problems, the emphasis is on identifying the underlying causes and resolving them.
Plant water stress, excess nitrogen and excess thatch are the major factors that predispose lawns to chinch attack and damage. Cultural Controls for chinch bug involve changing lawn maintenance practices to relieve these conditions without changing the fundamental nature of the lawn. In general, the cultural practices advocated for control of chinch bug are simply good maintenance practices regardless of chinch bug problems; alternatively, they can be regarded as improving plant health and the natural resistance to pests. (See VIII PHOTOS for dramatic examples of side by side chinch-susceptible and chinch-resistant lawns.)
Redesign involves more fundamental changes designed to make the system more self-sustaining and pest resistant and may require significant structural and/or aesthetic changes in the lawn system.
These three categories of control - acute, cultural, redesign - can be considered to operate at different levels in a hierarchical scheme: acute controls act directly on the pest, cultural controls relieve some or all of the conditions pre-disposing the lawn to chinch bug attack, and redesign makes the system more self regulating and less dependent on either acute or cultural controls. Depending on the particular site, time of year etc., components from more than one level might be introduced at any given time. As more of the higher level controls are invoked, improvement in the overall health of the system will reduce the potential for all pests as well as the demand for water and fertilizer.