Insects Problem - earwigs - Knowledgebase Question

Ottawa, ON
Question by robicho
January 31, 1998
Up here in Canada, especially in this city, we have had a very large problem with earwigs. As soon as my seedlings are put in the ground, the earwigs eat until there's nothing left of them. Any suggestions as to what I could do to get rid of them or maybe you could suggest a place for me to start looking!

Thanks for any help!!


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Answer from NGA
January 31, 1998

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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. (info@gardeners.com or ph# 800-863-1700).

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