Earwigs damage vegetable seedlings, AND they enjoy eating your apricots, blackberries, raspberries, stone fruits, strawberries, dahlias, marigolds and zinnias, just to name a few!
Earwigs are busiest during June, July and August and there are several organic options to control earwigs in your garden.
- First remove the objects earwigs seek out for hiding places, this includes stacks of wood, piles of weeds, grass clippings and other plant debris.
- Pull mulches at least six inches away from tender plant stems.
- Earwigs love damp conditions, so water your garden and lawn only when necessary.
- Turn off as many outdoor lights as possible after dark, earwigs are attracted to light.
Trapping Earwigs with Bait : Poke several ¼-inch holes in the top of the lid of a small disposable plastic container to make a trap. Place your bait mixture of choice inside the trap, then snap on the lid. Bury the trap in the garden leaving about ¼ inch above the soil. Empty the trap into a bucket of soapy water in the morning. Repeat every two or three days.
Soy Sauce Bait – Out of beer, then place ½ inch of soy sauce inside then add a few drops of vegetable oil on top.
Beer Bait – Pour about ½ inch of stale beer into the trap.
Yeast Bait – Use 1 cup of water, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp flour, ½ dry yeast, and a few drops of oil – Leave the lid off this trap. This mixture will attract slugs, snails and earwigs.
Traps without Bait:
Newspaper Traps – Roll a section of newspaper into a narrow tube with a ½- to one-inch diameter. Dip it into water to dampen it, but remove quickly. Set the trap in a shady spot near the garden in the morning. Earwigs will use it to escape the afternoon heat. Dump newspaper with the bugs into a bucket of soapy water before they come out to feed at dusk.
Milk Carton Trap– Wash milk carton well with soap and warm water. Cut off one panel of the empty milk carton, wad some dampen newspaper loosely in the carton. Set the trap near the garden but put it in the shade. Earwigs will hideout in the wet newspaper to escape the heat of the day. Empty bugs into a bucket of soapy water before nightfall.
Natural Predators: Plant flowers that attract earwig predators such as Tachinid and Digonichaeta setipennis flies. By adding a border of cosmos, dill, or fennel around your garden you provide a habitat for these insect predators. You can also encourage other natural predators, like toads or lizards to live in your garden. And, chickens eat earwigs, too.