Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Quick Tips
While their prominent tail-end pincers might look ferocious, earwigs aren’t harmful to people. Earwigs can seriously damage seedling vegetables and chew holes in annual flowers, soft fruit, and corn silks, but earwigs also play a beneficial role by feeding on aphids and other insects. Nocturnal in habit, earwigs feed at night and hide during the day in dark, cool, moist places in the yard or within flowers or vegetables. To manage earwigs, reduce hiding places and moisture, and employ a vigilant trapping program.
Should you be concerned about earwigs in your garden?
Reduce outdoor hiding places:
Trap earwigs until they’re gone!
Trap earwigs with rolled newspaper, bamboo tubes, or short pieces of hose. Place these traps on the soil near plants just before dark, and shake accumulated earwigs out into a pail of soapy water in the morning. A low-sided can filled with oil and a drop of bacon grease or fish oil also makes a good trap. Daily trapping will reduce earwig populations to tolerable levels.
Other ways to reduce earwig problems:
Inside the home:
Earwigs might seek refuge indoors when conditions outside are too dry, hot, or cold. Large accumulations of earwigs can be annoying but present no health hazards. When earwigs invade your home follow these steps:
Minimize the use of pesticides that pollute our waterways. Use nonchemical alternatives or less toxic pesticide products whenever possible. Read product labels carefully and follow instructions on proper use, storage, and disposal.