The Forficula auricularia or as we know it better, the Earwig, is a thin insect just a quarter short of an inch with a pair of pincers. The sharp forceps called cerci are located at the tail side of the “elongated, flattened” body and appropriated for mating and catching prey. These red to brown colored insects feed mostly at night on plant shoots that are still soft like the corn silk. Considered pests because of the eating habit, in one night they can damage entire beds of vegetation. Earwigs destroy:
- flowers and leaves by leaving nibbled holes on them
- Stems and the developing tip of a plant by gouging on them
- Infest ripened fruits
- Destroy seedlings
Earwig Control In Vegetable Gardens – A Step By Step Guide
For all who have flowering plants or vegetable gardens, earwigs can become a vexation. We give you a simple step by step tactic to gets these minuscule pests under control!
- Step 1:
Earwigs live and breed in garden debris and mulch. Remove it.
- Step 2:
Apply a band, around the trunk of all plants, which is sticky. Earwigs, which rarely fly, will get stuck to the band and not be able to reach leaves and fruits.
- Step 3:
Spread pest-killing granules all over the lawn and backyard to eliminate insects. It can be sprinkled near the bottom of any home, too.
- Step 4:
For a faster result, use earwig baits that are impervious to rain and heat. Place the granular baits around the perimeter of the garden or anywhere the tiny pests are found.
- Step 5:
For more extended protection, mix Diatomaceous Earth in the soul. DE is non-toxic and kills creepy crawlies by gouging the external layer of the insect. DE is made of “tiny fossilized aquatic organisms.” It looks like finely ground powder.
- Step 6:
The last and rarely used step should be the application of insecticide that kills earwigs but do not harm plants. Using natural chemicals taken from plants that kill/repel insects is the best option. Better than human-made pesticides, these natural insecticides are not as harmful “and break down more quickly in the environment.” A blend of apple cider vinegar (1ltr), water (4ltr) and Dawn dish wash (1 teaspoon) is apt eco-friendly earwig killer.
How To Control Earwigs Naturally – Use Traps
In the process explained above for earwig control in gardens, step four is about using baits. Here are some of the traps and baits you can use to control earwigs in your garden naturally.
Take a tin can with a shallow base and fill it with vegetable oil. Something like cat food tin will work splendidly. The oil should be just half an inch full. The oil attracts earwigs and then kills them by drowning. Empty the can when full of dead earwigs and then refill.
You can also use vegetable oil by placing a pan or dish full of it close by to seedlings. Just keep the bowl buried till the brim.
Dampen a newspaper, roll it up and then place it at the base of your trees and shrubs right when the sun is setting. Come morning the newspaper will be full of earwigs which can be thrown into a bucket of water. Instead of newspaper, you can also use:
- Burlap bag
- Garden hose
Take an old shoebox and fill it bran or oatmeal. The layer should be slender. Close the lid of the box. Make holes at the lower edge of the box on all outer sides. Position the entire shoebox on an entry point of the home like porch or main door to trap the small pests.
Earwigs Control Natural Predators – Let Nature Do The Work
When there are predators present in nature who prey on earwigs, then why waste our effort. Let them do the work for you.
Toads love earwigs. You can attract them by letting the trees that grow near your dwelling go wild. Their foliage will provide a shaded environment that toads need. Another method is to brick a part of your ground, put boards over the bricks and then place plants on the boards.
Some birds eat earwigs and therefore keep the population in control. To make your garden or backyard attractive enough to birds, do this:
- Offer shelter – use nest boxes.
- Offer food – use filled bird feeders.
- Do both – by planting trees which produce berries or fruits that preying birds will live in and eat.
- A bird bath can also be helpful.
Earwigs have nutrients that insects which have been commercially reared don’t. For some captive animals, like herps, they supply noteworthy amount of sustenance during hot months. Therefore, they can be used a food source for:
- Reptiles like lizards
Earwig Chemical Control – Your Very Last Effort
The final step to controlling earwigs around a home is chemical. It should be only taken when all else fails.
Outside The Home
- At the foundation of your residence spray an insecticide from a distance of 2 feet away.
- Cover all crawl spaces around the home.
- Also, drench the mulch found on flowerbeds.
- Use the chemical as the sun sets so that it is still viable in late evening and night when earwigs come out.
- If the spray fails, mix an emulsifiable insecticide with a lot of water and put it in the earth.
Inside The Home.
- Use an indoor approved aerosol can and spray all the cabinets, voids and baseboards.
- You can also apply a powdered insecticide, spray and wash cleaners or cockroach spray. All three will kill them upon touch.
Earwig Control Indoors – Block Them Out
The ideal way to keep earwigs in control is to stop them from entering your abode. Take these simple steps.
- Look for all gaps and holes in walls and fill them.
- Cracks in the foundation or floor should also be sealed. Use mortar where necessary.
- Pay particular attention to plumbing, and wires.
- Windows and doors should have weather stripping to fix all large gaps.
- Switch out all bright lights on your porch, patio or garden with “sodium vapor yellow-tinted light bulbs.”
Remember that brighter the bulb, the more attractive they are to earwigs.
- Apply oil of eucalyptus on all ledges, cracks and frames. This will repel earwigs.
- Spray a solution of vinegar and soap, if you don’t have oil. The mixture leaves a residue that hinders earwigs.
- If possible, plant mint, thyme or basil near your home. They deter pests from entering.
Take Away Their Shelter
- If there are any leakages in your home or outside, fix them. Moisture in the base of a home and damp areas are home for earwigs.
- Keep the gutters clean and ensure that they carry water away from the house.
- Make a border of stone/gravel around the dwelling to prevent water build up.
A Hearty Goodbye To Earwig Infestation
It is evident that taking care of the earwig population in or outside a home is easy. One can use various natural methods that do not harm the environment. Combine them with preventive measures like sealing the house entirely to say a happy goodbye to the pests.