Monday, June 18, 2012

Earwig Damage

So, I planted out some eggplants and cucumbers a week or two ago and every night the plants were getting smaller.  The nibbling pattern didn't look like slugs or caterpillars, so Terry went out one night to see if it was pill bugs.  Well, he saw hundreds of hungry earwigs chomping away on the eggplant, cucumber, and fava bean plants.  Every year there is a different pest challenge.  This year it's earwigs.  

 The next day we did a little internet research and made some traps with oil in the bottom.  Supposedly the earwigs crawl in and get stuck in the oil.  After nightfall we donned our headlamps and went back out to check the traps.  Although no earwigs were in the traps yet, we squished tons of them.  I'm getting a lot better at squishing bugs- albeit with gloves on.  (Sorry no photos of the carnage- earwigs are just too gross to take close up photos of.)  We scoped out the rest of the garden and also found earwigs on the potatoes and artichokes.  Terry also stomped some giant slugs ((also too gross to photograph)(even sicker is that Bacon likes to chew the slug carcasses once they are dried up)).

In the morning we went back out and saw no earwigs in the traps.  I googled around some more and found one suggestion to add soy sauce.  So I added a little soy sauce to the traps.  The following morning, the traps were not where we left them.  They were crunched with puppy dog teeth and left strewn about.  Bacon apparently likes the smell of soy sauce.  It's back to the drawing board.  


  1. earwigs like canned cat food also. Take a plastic 20 oz. soda bottle and cut it apart right above the label. Put a spoonful of canned cat food in the lower portion, replace the upper portion, but inverted so the neck of the bottle is in the lower portion. Then punch holes it both parts and run a string through the holes to hang it. the earwigs get in, but can't get out. This a trick that ciscoe uses on dahlias.

  2. I've been trying to find a natural predator for earwigs for some time without much luck. I suspect that chickens would do it, but we just can go that route now. Your earwig damage is impressive. They will get a portion of ours, but nothing to that degree.

    I think Shari read something about rolled-up newspaper. They will crawl in and stay. You can then toss the whole hotel. I should ask her, she'll remember.

    1. I am having success with eggshells.( thank to my sister)

  3. Thanks for the advice. I'll have to try the newspaper and eggshells. Don't think I'll try the cat food, since it'll just attract the dog again (he's fenced out of that garden area, but will get in if motivated.)

  4. some consider the ear wig to be a beneficial because it will help manage an aphid population, but if you have tender leaf plants they will go to town on them. They have found a home in my greens garden and have done considerable damage, and the lettuce and chard that i have harvested i wash at least three times because of their disgusting leftovers. They nearly took out two of my basil plants and the best means of dealing with them, (i tried traps) was to systematically check plants at night and eradicate the population with a rather brutish technique using shears and cutting them in two. make sure you stir up the top little bit of soil surrounding the plant because a few are hiding in there. I live in Eugene, Oregon and the problem came to a head the second week of july. so that was after I had already had a good early summer crop of greens and close to when all my greens wanted to bolt anyway. I was more worried about what they would do after the greens were gone and all of my tomatoes and peppers were going strong. no one has posted to this line since 2012 and just wanted to share my experience with the possible good but what i saw as bad ear wig...