How to Rid Your Garden of Earwigs

Earwigs

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    Get Rid of Earwigs in Your Garden

    Earwigs like damp, many people wonder if they are garden pests. While earwigs (Forficula auricularia) feed on young shoots and can occasionally spoil leaves and even flowers, the extent of damage they cause shouldn't be a major concern in most gardens.

    In their favor, earwigs will eat aphids, slugs, and some types of larvae, so you may have them around. However, as with all unwanted creatures in a garden, there are times when earwigs are considered a pest. When that happens, be patient and find out why catchy tunes are lured into your garden to change your habits.

    What Are Earwigs?

    Scissors are easy to spot when you see its long, reddish-brown body with two large claws on its tail.1 But don't worry; Do not bite with these pliers. They use them to catch insect prey and mate. Some types of earwigs have wings, but you will rarely see a fly.

    Why Are Earwigs in the Garden?

    Earwigs love moist, sheltered places, including flower beds or areas under potted plants. These conditions, along with the food supply, will test scissors in your garden. However, because they are considered beneficial insects, they are only treated as pests when their damage becomes excessive.

    Earwigs

    Plants Earwigs Like

    Earwigs often eat plant debris found in garden soil and under containers. They also feed on a variety of garden plants and seem to be particularly fond of corn grass and acorns, as well as dahlias, marigolds, roses, and zinnias. They can also be a parasite on fruits like berries, apricots, and peaches. Unfortunately, if none of your favorites are available, earwigs can feed on whatever plants they find.

    How to Control Earwigs Near Plants

    The first step in checking the scissors is to clean the mulch from the area where it is concentrated and allow the soil to dry out a bit. You only need to do this temporarily until the earwigs start to move. Other techniques include:

    • Put wet newspapers or small cardboard boxes (like a cereal box) in the garden at night. Earwigs feed at night and seek a sheltered, humid place to spend the day. You can find a good number of them in the newspaper the next morning. The Cooperative Extension System recommends placing these traps with oats or bran if you have trouble luring them into the trap.
    • Install flat cat food traps or tuna cans filled with a top layer of vegetable oil.
    • Apply a sticky barrier like anti-tangle, duct tape, or even petroleum jelly to the base of the woody plants. The scissors crawl and get caught in the sticky mess before they can climb the tree or bush to cause damage.
    • Apply diatomaceous earth to the floor to stop the scissors. Reapply within a week if necessary.
    • Insecticides labeled for crawling insects can be used. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. In general, it is best to perform treatments in the evening before starting to feed.

    Since earwigs are considered beneficial insects, don't panic if you see a few of them. They can be allies in the garden. These control measures should be used when the harm they cause outweighs their benefit.

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    Earwigs

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