Earwigs

gogarden(z5 IA)June 14, 2006

I'm wondering if anyone has ideas on how to get rid of earwigs in my home. I've been having a lot of them lately.

What do I use and where do I put it?

Gogarden

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Heathen1(10a)

hoooboy... I have earwigs from hell too. I am at a loss... I have used damp rolled up newspaper, tuna cans with beer, earwigs like that too. All sorts of things... doesn't put a dent in the population... I have just had to adapt. I hate the ugly critters with a passion... but I don't want to use chemicals.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 5:21PM
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swineinsanity(8)

On a gardening show they said cut the top of a water bottle or pop bottle off. Put cat food in. Take that top of the bottle you cut off and put it into the bottle and tape it shut to where the pout is inside. Poke 2 holes on the side and insert string. The earwigs will go into the hole but cannot climb out. I hope that makes sence.
Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 5:24PM
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buttercupia(zone4 IA)

It sort of makes sense, but what do you do with the string? Do you take the lid off too? How do the earwigs get up the sides of the bottle to fall into the bottle?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 10:46PM
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it_better_be_organic

earwigs are present because the place they are living in is suitable to their needs. Just get rid of their ideal habitat or change it and they will eventually go away

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 10:57PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I've never seen an insect that can survive walking through boric acid powder. I just had my entire house dusted inside of every wall with boric acid. Once the initial roach slaughter and roundup was over (they tried to escape), I haven't seen another insect.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 11:54PM
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Sunny_Sky(Zone 4 - Desert Climate)

Here's an interesting article about earwigs and controlling them:

http://www.paghat.com/woodlouse.html

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 11:55PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

Explosions in earwig populations occur only in a garden unbalanced by the use of pesticides and herbicides - says the article. Our garden has been strictly organic for over twenty years and earwigs have been a problem for about fifteen. Residents of this province have tracked their arrival and their move northward from more southerly regions over the years. Sandy soil seems to encourage earwigs to take up residence.

Anyhow, in the garden the best trap we've found is to place sets of two strawberry boxes upside down in the shade of taller plants. In the morning, hold the box pairs over a bucket with soapy water in the bottom, take them apart and shake/knock out the earwigs. After three years of this strategy we have made a dent in their population.

They do like cat or dog food a lot - I'll try that bottle trick, Cheryl. Though I wondered about the purpose of the string too.

Some people use a line of laundry soap/powder around things or at house entrances to deter them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 6:31AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Simply trapping the buggers won't necessarily eliminate them from the house, you need to make living in the house unpleasant for them. Garlic oil sprays will do more to run the buggers off than anything.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 7:13AM
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graciefrmli(z7 LI)

"earwigs are present because the place they are living in is suitable to their needs. Just get rid of their ideal habitat or change it and they will eventually go away"

They are everywhere in my garden, both vegetable and ornamental. So far, they eat everything in there path. Does anyone know of any beneficial insects that eat them? My favorite flower is a daisy and every year they eat the plants down to leaf skeletons. The flowers become so ugly you can't even cut one of them. I have tried insecticides but I don't want to anymore and anyway, it is not helping.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:26PM
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patty4150(SoCal)

Do they actually hurt anything? I have them now and then, and they're gross, but I have never noticed them eating my plants, for example. Do they?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:51PM
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kathyp(z9 CA)

Patty et al -

I have tons of earwigs - they eat a plant down to the ground in about 2 days. They are everywhere! Unfortunately, they love the compost pile, so using compost spreads them into the gardens. I've tried the rolled up newspaper, cat food, dog food, beer, etc. They all attract the critters, but getting rid of them is a hopeless cause, at least in my yard! I just try and plant things that they don't like to eat - however, I still have roses, which they love. I just shake out the flowers before I bring them in the house.

If there is an organic method to get a handle on the population, I'd love to know it!

thanks,
kathy

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 12:45AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Garlic Oil sprays, kathy

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 7:21AM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Try mixing 1 part soy sauce, 1 part vegetable oil, and 1 part molasses. Place in empty tuna tin and place in garden with the top of the tin flush with the ground.

I used to grow Dahlias at our old home in the city where earwigs were the insect I waged a war with. They would eat the leaves at night then go sleep in the petals of the flowers during the day.

I placed the above recipe in the tins, and at first I would get loads of the critters, and then it got down to very little.

Make sure you empty every morning and refill. You can even skip the molasses if you want, it will still work.

At our new home, they are not so much a problem, but I'm always prepared for them. UGH!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 7:42AM
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gogarden(z5 IA)

I'm going to try quite a few ways mentioned above. They probably love the straw mulch outside. I put some organic soap around my window and doors downstairs (that really works for ants), I don't know how they are getting in. I have been seeing them in every room, yuck. Its time to fight back...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 1:12PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Remember the originator has them inside the home, not in the garden. Garlic sprays are probably not an option.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 9:30PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Had a salesperson for one of our major wholesale nursery suppliers give a presentation to the Master Gardeners class a couple of years ago on the new products they were selling and this question came up, "What can I do to get rid of earwigs in the house", and this salesperson with a large arsenal of stuff said, "Spray garlic Oil."
He related that after the birth of his son, his wife became quite concerned about the earwigs in the house and told him to do something about it, so after trying numerous products he did get some Garlic Oil spray and tried that. He did say his house and yard kind of smelled like a pizza parlor for a few days but the earwigs left, in a hurry, from places he never knew they were, and an annual spray seems to keep them gone now.
So why would garlic oil sprays not be an option in the house.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 7:58AM
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kathyp(z9 CA)

Kimmsr - Where do you get Garlic Oil? I am definitely going to give it a try! I'll put up with anything to get rid of the little buggers!

Thanks for the info,
Kathy

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 2:03PM
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fairy_toadmother

i hope it works for you. i tried a whole hodgepodge of things, including garlic juice (maybe since it wasn't "oil?") at the main earwig entrance- the door. nope, didn't keep them out. :(

even reapplying daily, they still walked right over it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 4:11AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

That should be available at any good garden supply store. This guy was a salesperson for a wholesale garden supply house here and did not mention any specific brand names.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 6:42AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

The idea of the detergent/soap powder (it's coming back to me now) is the same as using a soap spray on pests - soap clogs the insect's spiracles, or breathing holes, killing them quickly. If it's put around the possible entranceways outside the house, dew or humidity would dampen it. Inside the house you'd have to dampen it yourself, I suppose. The earwigs would crawl over it and die.

Tiffy, we did that soy sauce and oil thing for a while but I started thinking about all the soy sauce (and salt) and oil we were throwing in the bushes. Tossing a couple of inches of soapy water full of dead earwigs in the bushes seemed preferable. (This is soap I'm talking about, not detergent.)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 10:10AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The only reason not to use garlic in the house is because the house will smell like a pizza parlor for a couple days. If you're good with that, then go for it. Boric acid doesn't smell like anything and works for decades after one application.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 11:49PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Oh, gosh, Paul! No, don't throw the stuff in the bushes. :) In the compost please - a nice big pile where things are heating up!!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 8:17PM
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buttercupia(zone4 IA)

I just went out to check my bean plants and spray some mint oil on them to protect from earwigs, and noticed that the centers of all my newly bloomed daisies were thick with earwigs....I sprayed mint on them in reaction, now I'm worried that the bees and butterflies will suffer from the residue.. there must be something to use on them.. will the funnel in the bottle thing work? what is the best bait? Does garlic oil spray hurt butterflies or bees or other beneficials.. Would mint oil residue hurt these, or maybe just repel them.// I have alfalfa hay all over the garden.. I'm going to have to do something.. I just found an earwig under the bar of soap on the bathroom sink tonight...Help.. need some good organic advise..

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 1:37AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

buttercupia, the regular use of organic fertilizer usually keeps infestations of pests from happening. Are you regularly using organic fertilizer on the soil?

Regular spraying with liquid seaweed usually keeps sucking insects off of plants. Are you spraying the plants with liquid seaweed every other week?

Boric acid kills most insects that walk through it. Have you tried boric acid indoors?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 2:05AM
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gogarden(z5 IA)

Is boric acid safe for kids and dogs?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 9:32AM
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girlndocs(8 WA)

Earwigs are vanishingly rare in my yard since I got chickens. I didn't have trouble with them in the house, though.

Kristin

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 3:38PM
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buttercupia(zone4 IA)

I only use organic stuff on my garden. Composted manure, wood ashes, composted vegetable garbage, alfalfa meal, alfalfa hay, guano, greensand, etc. The bales of alfalfa hay which were in the rain are full of earwigs too now. I don't have any liquid seaweed and would rather not use boric acid .. anyway I don't care about them in the house.. just one under the soap and I found one in the microwave..trying to get out.. and maybe one or two on the kitchen counter.. really have found less than ten the house.. perhaps due to the population of house millipedes and long legged wispy spiders we allow to live in the crawlspace under the floor.. I let them be our first defense against insects and we have hardly any for an old house with plenty of air leaks.

I really wouldn't mind them so much if they didn't eat our flowers and vegetable leaves.. at least this year they seem to be leaving the impatiens alone.. or haven't gotten into decimating them . . yet.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 12:45AM
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boxbeast

gogarden,
Boric acid solution is commonly prescribed as an eyewash, mouthwash, and douche for humans and earwash for dogs. It's probably safe to use around kids and pets as long as they don't eat very much of it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 12:08AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

As long as they don't lick it, it should be safe. I'm pretty sure licking it would not be like licking ice cream.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 3:35AM
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lynxe

Comments on earwigs in the garden:

I had to use google images to make sure I knew what an earwig looks like. Yes, I've seen earwigs in my garden; in fact, I can't recall a year in which I didn't have them. But as far as I can tell, there's always been a "normal" population of them (whatever that means), and whatever damage they do has obviously not been extensive enough to concern me.

I've gardened organically on this small piece of in-town property for >15 years. Compost, aged manure, really, that's it basically. Sole exception is Roundup painted on bindweed--and even that hasn't worked 100% yet :(((

I have all sorts of critters here. Insect of all types: butterflies, praying mantises, ladybugs, etc; all sorts of birds, even had a hawk on severals occasions; all sorts of animals--skunks probably, racoons possibly, opposums definitely; shrews definitely--unless it's a vole!; have seen a toad. And so on.

Something here is keeping the earwig population in check. I have no idea what it is. My thought is that if you garden organically, eventually natural checks and balances work. But earwigs in the house? Sorry, wish I could help you!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 8:41AM
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boxbeast

I have noticed a few earwigs in the past, but nothing like what I have now. It has been pretty wet here; I think they like that. Those who say they do not eat live plants did not see EIGHT of them last night on my one small parsley, the edges of healthy leaves clearly visible between each pair of gnashing mandibles! Horrors! The traps are going out tonight.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 12:42PM
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dutch62

They can get out of hand but you can get control pretty quickly.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 easy steps to get rid of Earwigs

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:28PM
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alwaysagarden(CA 9b)

I too am having a fight with the nasty pests! This was my first year winter sowing. I planted out all of my baby plants over the past month. It has warmed up in my area and stayed warm for 2 weeks and in that time I have lost half of my baby zinnia's. They haven't started on the roses yet but, that is only a matter of time.
My neighbors never rake their leaves and probably have thick beds of them in their backyards... little havens for the horrible pests. I love zinnia's so I may just start over and Spring sow some seeds in planters on my deck and wait till they are large before I transplant them into the garden beds.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 2:35AM
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melaroma(6)

I have heard that toads are the solution to earwigs as well as other insects. Build them a house (clay pot half buried in the dirt) and a pool (pot dish with a small boulder in the middle of it). Hide the house in a protected area. They eat 100 to 200 insects a night!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:55PM
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dutch62

The one thing people forget about is moisture. Curb that and you will reduce the earwig.

Here is a link that might be useful: Prepare and prevent the earwig

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:54PM
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donnamarienj

I find earwigs INSIDE my tomatoes after I bring the fruit into the house! YUCK!

Nothing's creepier than slicing up a tomato for your sandwich and this bug scoots out and runs around the plate! GROSS! After it happened to me several times, I found myself scared to cut the remaining maters. :(

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:58AM
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