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Earwigs have been around for millions of years, but these small insects can still be annoying and destructive. Earwigs pose a serious risk to your plants and gardens, and it is important to know how to properly control them. In this article, learn about five of the most effective tips for controlling earwigs and protecting your garden.

1. Identify Earwigs

Earwigs are small insects, typically only 5 to 25 mm in size, and they are easily identified by their long, slender bodies and the distinct pincer-like appendages on their hind ends. They typically live in colonies of up to 20 and prefer damp environments, such as under stones or wood piles and garden beds.

Appearance

Earwigs have six legs and two antennae and range in color from j light to dark brown. Their bodies are flat and their wings are short.

Markings

Earwigs have a series of pale stripes on dark spots running along their back from head to tail. Sometimes, they may have a yellowish stripe on their abdomen.

2. Eliminate their Sources of Attraction

Once you know what earwigs look like, the next step is to eliminate anything that might be attracting them. Earwigs are drawn to damp and moist environments, so keep your garden or outdoor areas free of standing water and clippings. Remove any decaying organic matter, such as fallen leaves and vegetation, to disrupt the earwig’s habitat.

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Food Sources

Earwigs are also attracted to food sources such as fruit, vegetables, and grains. When possible, reduce your garden’s ground cover and make sure to remove any fallen fruit or vegetables near your garden to prevent earwigs from finding food sources in your yard.

Light Sources

Earwigs are attracted to light and will often congregate around light sources. If possible, reduce the amount of night lighting in your garden or yard to discourage them from inhabiting the area.

3. Physical Barriers

By using physical barriers, you can help prevent the intrusion of earwigs into your garden. To do this, set up turf barriers along the edges of your garden or yard to create an environment that earwigs cannot penetrate.

Bark Mulch

Bark mulch can be used to help keep earwigs from entering your space. Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch around the edges of your garden and along walkways and paths. This natural barrier will discourage earwigs from entering the area, but be sure to check the mulch frequently for any signs of activity.

Organic Insecticides

Organic insecticides such as diatomaceous earth can also be used to help protect your garden from earwigs. Spread a thin layer of the insecticide around the perimeter of your garden or yard and reapply every few months. While this method won’t guarantee complete protection against earwigs, it can help reduce their population.

4. Traps and Baits

If physical barriers and insecticides are not enough, traps and baits can help get rid of the earwigs in your garden. Common traps include cardboard traps, sticky traps, and wooden traps. Baits such as molasses, oatmeal, and cornmeal can also be used to attract and trap the earwigs.

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Bucket Traps

Bucket traps are a simple and efficient way to get rid of earwigs in your garden. Fill a bucket with water and add a few drops of vegetable oil. Place the bucket in the area where the earwigs are present and they will be drawn to the bait, become trapped, and drown.

Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are an effective way to capture earwigs. These can be made by coating a piece of cardboard or paper in a sticky mixture of oil and sugar. Place the trap near the affected area and check it each morning to see if any earwigs have been caught.

5. Natural Predators

Encouraging the presence of natural predators can help reduce the earwig population. Birds, lizards, and frogs are all natural predators of earwigs and can help keep the population in check.

Birds

Birds are one of the most effective predators of earwigs and can help keep their population in check. To attract birds, set up bird feeders and homes in your yard and provide water features such as birdbaths.

Lizards and Frogs

Lizards and frogs are also effective predators of earwigs. To attract them, provide hiding spots, such as stones or logs, and keep areas near your garden free of vegetation to provide a natural hunting environment.

People Also Ask

How do earwigs damage plants?

Earwigs damage plants by feeding on the leaves and stems, leaving behind holes and ragged edges. They also feed on young seedlings and can severely damage an entire garden or crop.

Are earwigs dangerous?

Earwigs are not typically dangerous to humans, but they can still cause damage to your plants and gardens.

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What time of day are earwigs most active?

Earwigs are most active at night and will often hide during the day.

What do earwigs eat?

Earwigs are primarily scavengers and will feed on decaying organic matter such as leaves, fruit, and insects.

Do earwigs spread disease?

No, earwigs do not spread disease and are not considered to be a health hazard.

Final Words

Controlling earwigs can be a challenge, but it is possible with a little effort and knowledge. By identifying earwigs, eliminating their sources of attraction, using physical barriers, traps, and natural predators, you can keep your garden and yard free from earwigs and protect your plants from damage.