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Major damage from earwigs

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Major damage from earwigs

Post  Triciasgarden on 6/16/2012, 3:21 pm

I was seeing lots of damage done on my potato leaves and my bean leaves and some of the bean stems were being chewed off. I could not find what was eating them. I had looked on the backside of the leaves and the soil but had not gone out at night with a flashlight though. Then holes were also being eaten in my cauliflower leaves, broccoli, spinach and lettuce and my carrot tops disappeared. I read about someone having problems with earwigs and in late afternoon I happened to move straw away from my zucchini which was also getting eaten and I saw lots of earwigs. I looked under the straw quite a number of times but never saw the earwigs there before.

I got this idea from someone on this site. I can't remember who though, sorry. I cut down some plastic cups, leaving a little over an inch on the bottom. I poured about a half inch of used cannola oil in the bottom and set about six out that night. The next morning I checked and I was surprised when I caught 10-20 in each cup. I also caught a few hornets and some ants, but mostly earwigs. I then made up some more for that night, using tuna cans since I had made sandwiches that day. I didn't have used canola oil so I had to use fresh. I put those out also in each bed and one in an area that still had some weeds near my composter. I checked the next day and had twice as many. I have left all the containers out, moving them when I watered and putting them back. I have caught probably 100-200 in each container, gross but effective. I knew I had earwigs but never expected to find such a large infestation! I am still seeing live earwigs and killing them with a tool or my shoe.

I am still getting chewing holes so I will have to go out tonight with a flashlight and see what I can find. Thought I would share my infestation and let everyone know how well the oil worked! Thank you to those of you who posted this! It has been practically like a one species natural insecticide! How cool is that!
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/16/2012, 4:34 pm

Could you use any oil? Its pouring rain right now, but I'm gonna give that a try and see what sort of critters I can collect too. Not liking all my baby veggies bieng eaten before they have a chance. I am trying to grow some swiss chard and only one of four squares have come up, so I replanted the others. They are mostly just barely breaking ground, but the ones that were up...about 4-5 inches...have been nibbled almost completely. Evil or Very Mad I am not sure if they will continue to grow, but wonder if I need to start over ....again.
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  plantoid on 6/16/2012, 6:48 pm

We used to make earwig traps and set them all around the dahalias & elswhere in the garden at a reduced rate out of tin cans or red ceramic plant pots stuffed with straw and upended onto 18 inch long sticks set in the ground , the earwigs usually go into the straw filled cans for the day time .

So once every three days or so it was just a case of taking the upturned can off the stick and burning it with a bit more straw till the contents were wholey incinerated then once cool refill the can again with straw ( Not hay ) and place it back on the stuck upside down. If it was a plant pot that was used the contents were dragged out over & into a small fire .

Straw is used because it has good wide hollow stems for the earwigs to crawl into to lay eggs.
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/16/2012, 7:28 pm

I have straw all over the floor of my garden area. I sprinkled a bale over top thinking it was a good idea....I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say mabey it wasn't such a good idea. Its not in the garden beds, just on the walk walk ways...
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  Triciasgarden on 6/16/2012, 10:34 pm

Debora from what I read you can use any oil, vegetable, canola, etc. I used canola because that is what I cooked with and also had on hand. Someone wrote that they used oil that they cooked in and since I had that on hand, that is what I used until I ran out of the cooked stuff. Some have even used rancid oil.

I thought I read that straw is a good mulch. I know earwigs like to hide under vegetation and even mulch, but I also saw other bugs when I looked (not sure what types because I don't know enough about them). Maybe someone can let us know.

Plantoid those traps sound great! I will have to try it!

I also have used wet rolled up newspaper, held together with a rubber band. In the morning you just throw the newspaper in a plastic bag and seal it shut so they can't escape and throw away the whole plastic bag in the garbage. I checked the newspaper one time and lots scurried out.
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  westie on 6/16/2012, 11:20 pm

Have used those traps with good results for several years. Try putting some molasses and soy sauce in the oil that enhances the bug appeal but it does not stay mixed together vey well. It resembles teriyaki sauce which the earwigs also adore. A cat food tin filled about half full with cheap white zinfandel wine works quite well too but will evaporate fast during the day so cover them then. Going around refilling them can be an enjoyable event. Old shoppers in the plastic bag wetted well will provide a good nesting spot for them then just pitch it every day or two. I use several approaches at once including seven dust across door thresholds in the tool shed and house. Try not using much seven because it kills many friendly bugs including bees. Getting an early start on them every spring helps a lot compared to waiting for an infestation. The earwig can be beneficial by eating lots of aphids and coddling moths but I prefer to have as few of them around as possible.
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  Triciasgarden on 6/17/2012, 12:35 am

I just noticed Debora that you had asked if you should replant your
swiss chard. I have never grown it but I am "guessing" that you should
wait a few days or so and see if it is totally gone.

Westie I think it may have been your post that I got the idea of the oil
for earwigs because I remember now that I read to put molasses and soy
sauce in the oil! I think I will do some Spring trapping each year for the earwigs.

One thing I just realized is I haven't had much of this year are snails. That surprises me.

My carrots just haven't made it this year and I think it may be the earwigs. I had several squares planted in different beds and some started and I even thinned them and then they were gone in all the beds. I will have to replant.
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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  tegaan on 6/17/2012, 1:40 am

What I did for earwigs is take the hose to where I thought they were hiding (in between the boards in my raised beds) they would all come out and then I would spray them with veggie oil....they died. I tried the traps first and did not get a good result. The water spray and oil spray did the trick.Twisted Evil

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Re: Major damage from earwigs

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/2/2012, 1:58 am

Tegaan that sounds like a great idea! I think this assault on the earwigs has to be using every idea out there! I did put down straw mulch and there are so many under there. I have to get rid of it all. I got so angry seeing so many one day that I had a kids hand garden rake that had a lot of surface area and I just started wacking as many as I could get. If they tried to run away I raked them back and mashed them. I even had the guts to smash a baby one with my knuckle into the dirt. An adult I wacked with the palm of my hand into the dirt. I could not have used my hand against a hard surface though.
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