The Q&A Archives: corn and earwigs

Question: I have noticed that the top of my corn stalks have earwigs in them. There are no chew marks or damage done to the corn, should I be worried? I am an organic gardener, can you offer any suggestions

Answer: Actually, earwigs can feed on the silks and tassles and cause pollination problems so you'll want to chase as many as possible off the corn stalks and ears. Earwigs like to hide in dark, moist places, and the husks on corn provide both. You can try trapping the earwigs at soil level before they have a chance to climb up the stalks and invade the ears of corn. Begin early in the season, before the pest population gets out of hand. You can trap earwigs by placing cat food or tuna cans filled with an inch of vegetable oil on the soil around your plants. The pests will be attracted by the oil, crawl in and drown. Empty and refill the traps as necessary. Another effective trap is to lay dampened, rolled newspapers on the soil surface just before dark. The earwigs will crawl in to hide at night and you can shake them out into a pail of soapy water the next morning. If you keep weeds and debris out of the garden, earwigs won't have places to hide and reproduce.

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