Earwig Information

Earwig Information

By Kate Torpie, Garden Guides Contributor
Earwig

About Earwigs

Earwigs are easily identified by the brown pincher-like appendages at the base of its abdomen. They are brown or reddish and grow to be about 1/2 an inch. Since most of their eating is done overnight, you may notice defoliated plants in the morning with no signs of pests. Earwigs may also come inside and feed on houseplants or spilled greasy or sweet foods. In small numbers, earwigs can be helpful, as they prey on many other garden pests, including the ever-present aphid.

Prevention and Control

To prevent earwigs indoors, you must control them outdoors. Clean away debris and moisture from the outside of the house. You can even spread a layer of gravel to keep it dry. There are different methods of control, both natural and chemical, mentioned below.

Affected Plants

Wide range of plants, most commonly seen on marigolds, dahlias, lettuces and strawberries.

Damage

They feed on the roots and leaves of flowers and vegetables. Can kill a plant by killing its roots.

Predators

Toads and birds

Natural Insecticides

* Mix 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 tablespoon dry yeast and 8 ounces water; place the mixture in a small container and bury it to ground level. Periodically remove the earwigs as needed.
* Insecticides with orange-peel extract

Other Methods of Control

* Create a trap by leaving a wet section of hose; they may use it to sleep during the day. Empty out as needed.
* Apply insecticides to cracks and crevices near areas of infestation
* Apply insecticides to plants in the evening, so that the residue will turn earwigs off when they come to dine.
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