I'm in Inland Southern California, zone 10b. I put in some raised beds and the earwigs are decimating my turnips, radishes, lettuce, beans, squashes, basil, and more. I know they're beneficial at some level but they are out of control. At night it's a horror movie out there. I fear that I've created an ideal habitat for them: lots of damp mulch for them to hide in and lots of tender young greens for them to eat. What's worse is that I just got a dump truck of freee mulch, which just added several hundred square feet of earwig habitat. Lucky them!
I've tried spraying solutions of Murphy's oil soap and Neem, and using diatomaceous earth, and picking them off by hand, but they keep coming. I'm ready for a permaculture solution, though. What predators can I attract? It's dry here, so there's few frogs. Lots of lizards, but they seem to like the fence. And not enough to put a dent in my earwig population anyway. I've read about tachinid flies, which are bad for butterflies, but perhaps that would be the best way? I have chickens, but they can't get into the raised beds, and they're on the other side of the property and they need to be supervised if out of their run or else coyote dinner. I've used the oil traps and they catch some, but the onslaught continues. I can live with a few, but they're ruining so much Maybe this is just a bad year for some reason? Was a pretty wet winter.
How long’s it been since you laid down the mulch? Probably with time they’ll go away. When I first had arborist chips in my yard I also noticed more earwigs (though not out of control). Later I noticed heaps of non-venemous spiders under the mulch and few earwigs. Giving it time should probably sort it all out. Nature takes time sometimes; this year I don’t have any vegetables growing in my soil when usually my yard’s all green at this time. It’s because I buried lots of wood chips under the soil to break up the clay. So far nothing’s growing but with time it should improve a lot.
I agree with Tim.
Plagues are common when you start a garden. Suddenly there is food! Maybe grow your plants out bigger in a protected environment. I had to as well, snails were attacking my pumpkin seedlings, one was bigger, the only one that survived. Now i've removed the straw, so it's dryer, they can't hide in there any longer. Small things like that do help. Observe and come up with a plan.
Frogs are awesome, i advice everybody to dig a pond for them and create onland habitat for toads. Wood debri, lay it somewhere in a shady spot out of sight and they will come, eating all sorts of pests. It's hedgehog habitat too, but these are European tricks, it makes for good poisonous snake habitat too which we hardly ever see.I'm happy with snakes.
Here hedgehogs are dying out, people poison their food, snails, adding to snailplagues. We're not very clever as a species. We have this illusion of control. It ain't real. Use your brain, observe, think, talk, cry, curse, accept, carry on smarter.
I hope someone comes with a supertip!
Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance.
I'm also in California, and I discovered pretty quickly that my former practice from the East of mulching just about everything simply won't work here. The garden quickly became an ideal habitat for thousands of earwigs, pillbugs, millipedes, slugs, and rodents! Rodents are much less likely to chew holes in irrigation lines when they are not buried under mulch. And the mulch doesn't break down....I can still find bits of cardboard out there from five years ago! Plus it's a fire hazard. So I've learned to put most of my organic matter INTO the soil rather than on top of it, and keep the surface clean. I do try to plant densely so as to cover the ground as soon as possible, and try to intercrop new plantings in among old ones. My system processes a lot of materials I'd otherwise be using as mulch through chickens, sheep, or compost, as well as direct burial when I empty out one of my raised beds (which is necessary to control tree roots and have a place to put dangerous compost like humanure)
Thanks everyone, yeah I'm just mulching away here so I'll try to work around that with alternative ground covers. A fun fact: I pruned some squash plants and left the leaves to decay in the beds, and lo and behold at night the dying leaves were covered with earwigs. And we just got kittens, which means a tasty empty cat food can everyday to trap earwigs. So until I can attract a predator army, I'll try to distract them with decaying squash leaves and cat food cans, and that seems to be getting them under control. As far as the mulch, maybe I'll rent a tiller and do a one-time blend of the mulch into the dirt in the barren areas of my field.
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