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Severe earwig infestation

Posts: 25
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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For several years we have had an earwig infestation covering our whole yard, with the earwigs eating up brassicas, parsley, raspberries, etc.  Now it's way worse, maybe due to a few factors this year: don't have chickens anymore; no wild birds this year other than scrub jays; haven't watered lawn so they concentrate in the garden area. I never studied the soil solutions, but right now I'm trying to protect a bunch of my baby grafted trees (apples, plums, figs) from another night of damage.

Things I've tried:
Bowls of fermented/sweet liquid {catches hundreds, but doesn't keep them off the plants}
Spray solution of vinegar and dish soap {1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) (didn't even keep them off the leaves, and started to burn the leaves}
Diatomaceous earth sprinkled on most leaves {earwigs were crawling all over it and eating still}

Does anyone know of some other quick solution that works? A barrier to put around each small trunk?
Thanks for your insight!![/color]
Posts: 6686
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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First some information on the earwig:

The common earwig (Forficula auricularia) is considered to be an insect pest when it feeds on soft plant shoots, such as corn silks, and eats small holes in foliage and flowers.
Occasionally ripened fruits are infested, but damage is usually tolerable. It can be particularly damaging to seedlings.
Earwigs also play a beneficial role in the garden, acting as scavengers on decaying organic matter and as predators of insect larvae, snails, aphids and other slow moving bugs.
These slender red-brown insects (3/4 inch long) with elongated, flattened bodies are distinguished by a pair of sharp pincers at the tail end, which they use for capturing prey and mating.
A few species have wings, although it is not a strong flier, and usually crawls in search of food.
Earwigs get their name from an old superstition that they crawl into the ears of a sleeping person and bore into the brain.
While menacing in appearance, they are harmless to man.

Adults overwinter in the soil.
Females lay 20-50 cream-colored eggs in underground nests during January and February, and the newly hatched young (nymphs) first appear in April.
Nymphs are protected in the nest and do not leave until after the first molt, when they must fend for themselves.
Young earwigs develop gradually, passing through 4-5 stages before becoming adults.
They are similar in appearance to adults, but lack wings and the large sized pincers.
Most species have one generation per year.

How to control earwigs:

Remove garden debris and excessive mulch where earwigs are living and breeding.
Since earwigs seldom fly, a sticky band of  some sticky substance such as Tanglefoot Pest Barrier around the trunks of trees, shrubs, and woody plants will prevent them from reaching the leaves and fruits on which they feed.
Apply food-grade Diatomaceous Earth in a circular barrier at least 1 foot wide for long-lasting protection.
Trap earwigs by placing rolls of damp newspaper or burlap bags in areas where they are found. Collect and dispose of pests the following day.

Hope this helps you combat your problem.

Esther Platt
Posts: 25
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
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Thanks for your reply a year ago. I'm still trying to decide what to do.
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