Answer: Earwigs are one of those semi-good guys that sometimes become a nuisance (kind of like moles). Although they occasionally chomp on our flowers, they also have the habit of chomping on aphids and certain pest larvae. Make sure that what is eating your plants really are earwigs -- go out at night with a flashlight. To protect seedlings, surround them with a sticky barrier, such as cardboard coated with petroleum jelly, and if the critters try to scale it, they'll get stuck. Earwigs like cool, shady spots to hide out in. You can trap earwigs with small boards, pieces of hose, bamboo, or even moistened rolled newspaper laid in the shade. Pick them up in the morning and dump into a can of soapy water. Also keep your garden free from plant debris and rubbish, where earwigs love to hide. If this trapping method dosn't catch what you have, diatomaceous earth sprinkled sparsely on and liberally around the seedlings will discourage them as well. Diatomaceous earth is available from Gardener's Supply Co. (firstname.lastname@example.org or ph# 800-863-1700).
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