The Q&A Archives: How to kill pests but manage new plants and neighborhood animals and active open compost bin

Question: Hello out there-
My immediate issue is an alarming number of earwigs-did laundry and layed on couch briefly to fold-noticed adult scamper and then later discovered very tiny ones in freshly laundered items-YUCK-they are multiplying -ka-pow! They are throughout the house-garage and yard. Recently purchased another house whose yard is a wonderland of never in years picked up dog stuff and the lot lacks top soil-all clay(beautiful tulips and iris-they must like clay)want short term and long term that applies to porches, decks,
and my compost bin in the far corner of main house-built with recomendations from site and advice-loved it)does it have to go? I am novice at pest control-did I menton garages and two unfinished basements? We have a stepchild of sorts-a cat personality name is Abbey-and our neighborhood all have cats-I want serious kill damage but worry-also new plants for-????? well? aspens-austrian pines,blooming magnolias-also russian sage, mint, lemon balm day lillies, tulips, iris, italian flat parsley-your advice?-purchased these items on clearance and don't want to plant here or there until pest control method deciced upon-young plants-beautiful-love them! I want to thank-you soooo much for your time and attention-I understand you are probably very busy and if you could help with just one issue-it would be the earwig thing-I very much appreciate any help and advice-peace out-carrie
in colorado springs

Answer: Earwigs usually congregate and then breed in places that are constantly damp. They feed on decaying organic matter, not plants. They can pinch but do not bite. If they are "everywhere" then you may need to consult with a pest control company, but you will also need to stop the moisture at its source -- eg make sure the basements and garage floor are dry. Keep mulch pulled away from the foundation. Avoid watering at night or in the evening as this can attract them as well. Your local county extension may be able to help you determine what is attracting them to your property and based on that, the best overall control strategy.

A compost bin can be useful, depending on its design and the ingredients you are adding to the pile it may require a lid to keep neighborhood animals out of it. If you turn it regularly and it is made up of a good balance of ingredients so that it is actively composting and heating up, it should not attract animals or pests. If it is heating up and composting rapidy it should not be attracting the earwigs in and of itself. On the other hand if it is a passive system where materials are just sitting and slowly rotting down it might be a potential breeding ground.

Here is general information about earwigs and their control so you can be familiar with some of the strategies.

I hope this helps.

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