How To Control Earwigs

EarwigThere has been considerable traffic searching on my site for ways to control and kill earwigs. Here is some information for natural and chemical control.

Earwigs are a pretty scary sight when you turn over a board or a flower pot and find one of them scooting out from underneath it. Sometimes they get indoors, and they sure scoot around the baseboards. If you squish them a foul smelling yellowish brown liquid emits from scent glands. They are active at night hiding during the daytime. Normally they live outdoors and do not really even try to get indoors.

Earwigs are harmless to humans and animals, but if you handle them carelessly or one gets down your britches it might give you a pinch with its forceps. The name “earwig” came from a European superstition that these insects would crawl in the ears of a sleeping person. Just superstition. They are reddish brown in color with light brown legs and about 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch long. The female will lay 20 to 60 eggs in their burrow during one season. The burrows are called chambers located 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil.

Earwigs do considerable damage by feeding on flowers, vegetables, fruits and other plants. They chew on the leaves, leaving a ragged appearance with small irregular holes in them. Earwigs feed on aphids, mites, fleas, and insect eggs. Earwigs also consume a lot of decomposing organic matter. So in spite of the fact they sometimes are in large populations, earwigs are generally considered a temporary pest.

Natural Control Measures

Earwigs are attracted to lights so you should reduce lighting around doors, windows, and other entry points. Sodium vapor yellow lights are less attractive to insects. Earwigs need moisture. If you reduce moist conditions, around your water spigots, air-conditioning units, and along the foundation, you will discourage them from entering your house. Keep your lawn and garden free of debris and rotting organic matter. Rake up your grass clippings, leaves, weeds and old wood.

Natural Trapping Measures

If you want to trap earwigs, you can give them a place to hide during the day. You can use a cardboard box with holes in the sides near the bottom. Place oatmeal or bran laced with boric acid in the box. You can place burlap bags, canvas, boards, and newspapers in your flower beds and make it is damp under them. Drop the bugs into a jar of soapy water to kill them. Earwigs like beer, place a number of small jars on its side with beer in them. The earwigs will crawl right in and die.

Natural Enemies Of The Earwig

Toads and lizards love earwigs.

The Tachinid fly and the parasitic fly Digonichaeta setipennis attack and kill up to 1/3 of the earwig population each year. Here is a list of plants that attract these earwig killing parasites. You can plant them where you want to control earwigs.

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria)
Painted daisy (Chrysanthemum coccineum)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Chemically Controlling Earwigs

Make sure you read the label if you are going to use chemicals to control your earwigs. You need to determine which is best for your conditions, and vegetable restrictions. The best way I would recommend is to apply insecticides as a barrier treatment. These materials can be applied as baits, dust, granules, liquid sprays. You can use Baygon (propoxur), diazinon, Dursban (chlorpyrifos), methoxychlor dust, Sevin (carbaryl), or sodium fluosilicate.

Reminder:

Keep Chemicals Away From Children And Pets. Check The Label.

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