Answer: You're right, earwigs do like cool, shady spots to hide out, which makes mulching a tricky proposition. There are non-chemical solutions to the problem, though, if you want to try a little more labor intensive, but safer, approach to earwig controlEarwigs preference for damp shade makes them easy to trap. A piece of hose, bamboo, or even rolled newspaper laid in the shade will attract them, and then you can do away with them by drowning or squashing them. To protect seedlings, surround them witha sticky barrier, such as cardboard coated with petroleum jelly, and if the critters try to scale it, they'll get stuck. If you don't have time for these procedures, diatomaceous earth sprinkled sparsely on and liberally around the seedlings and other plants will discourage them as well, as the particles are razor-sharp to insects. Diatomaceous earth is avaiable from Gardener's Supply Co. (firstname.lastname@example.org or ph# 800-863-1700). With these options, you should be able to mulch with abandon.
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