Having a garden can be lovely, but the problem comes with the pests, especially concerning the bizarre in appearance earwig, or Forficula auricularia, the most common type in the United States. They might also be called Dermaptera or pincers. Earwigs eat through treasured flowers and vegetables, but that can be stopped with earwig traps.
Earwigs, similar to Japanese beetles, cockroaches, and aphids, spend their time crawling around the garden, eating what attracts earwigs to the garden in the first place: your lovely veggies and flowers. It is crucial to a happy, healthy garden to learn about pest control and how to trap earwigs and use natural ways to get rid of them.
DIY Earwig Trap
Oddly, earwigs are often considered beneficial insects. In small numbers, they only eat decaying material and organic matter and aren’t considered one of the garden pests.
In large quantities, though, they come out of the mulch and eat away at what attracts earwigs, like dahlias and herbs. To control earwigs, use homemade earwig traps or DIY earwig deterrent and repellents like petroleum jelly for quick solutions to an irritating problem.
What Attracts Earwigs
The first thing to do if you have an earwig problem is to make sure you aren’t inadvertently attracting them. There are certain plants that earwigs love and, if possible, they shouldn’t be planted next to plants you don’t want to be eaten, or near a home’s foundations.
Oil Earwig Traps
Oil traps are one of the most sworn by earwig traps for the garden to kill earwigs and eliminate an infestation. Although it isn’t a widespread solution, it makes a more than satisfactory means of earwig control, so you never have to be surprised by pinchers coming out of the mulch.
Dig small holes next to the plants that are most affected by the earwigs. Make them big enough for whatever container you choose. Use a tin can like an empty cat food tin or a margarine container.
Fill the container half full with vegetable oil, canola oil, or something similar. Put in the drops of fish oil to attract the earwigs. Check the traps every morning and empty them as they fill up with earwigs.
Soy Sauce Traps
Soy sauce in a trap makes for a surprisingly effective way to get rid of earwigs. It lures them out of their crevices at night and traps them in hordes.
Like the trap before, use a jar or container and fill it about halfway with some oil, but add soy sauce instead of fish oil. Earwigs react strongly to soy sauce, driving them out of their holes and into the trap. Poke holes into the top of the container and put it back on.
“Plant” the container next to commonly eaten plants so that it is buried up to the rim. The holes allow the earwigs to squeeze in and then drop down into the oil, which stops them from getting out again.
Laying down hollow bamboo poles or cut up hoses makes a useful DIY earwig trap. Lay pieces of the bamboo or hose down along the rows in your garden. Earwigs like to crawl into small dark, damp spaces when the sun starts to come up.
Early in the morning, take the poles or hoses and tip them out into a bucket of soapy water. Hit it to make sure that they all slide out, and they will die in the water below. Do this each morning until the problem decreases.
As with most crawling insects, diatomaceous earth or DE, is an effective solution for getting rid of bugs around the base of plants, stopping them from crawling up and feasting. Once the earwigs creep into it, it is too late for them to escape.
They are lured in by their favorite snack. Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth, preferably food-grade and nothing harsher so that the plants aren’t harmed. Put it around the bottom of the plants that are getting eaten as well as the neighboring ones.
Spreading it to these should discourage the insects from trying out another plant. Take care to only spread diatomaceous earth right around the base of affected plants, so it doesn’t harm beneficial insects.
Alcohol acts as a surfactant, wetting the body of the insect and penetrating the waxy armor that covers the earwig. As soon as it makes contact with the body, it kills them.
The ratio of alcohol and water depends on the percentage of alcohol in the mix. If you choose to use isopropanol, make sure it doesn’t have any additives. For a 70% strength alcohol, mix it with equal parts water.
For a 95% alcohol, mix one part alcohol to one and a half parts water. Test the mixture on a couple of the plants to make sure it doesn’t hurt them when you spray the earwigs or the surrounding area at night.
Dish Soap Spray
Using dish soap works to clean utensils as well as cleaning off plants from chewing insects. Make this spray to wreak havoc on a pest problem.
Mix the dish soap and water in the spray bottle. Whenever you encounter earwigs or other harmful bugs in the garden, spray them thoroughly to kill them quickly.
Although you need to buy Borax as you would glue traps and other commercial items, it does make an excellent earwig killer.
Only use Borax inside in high or out of reach areas, away from access by kids or pets. Cover the region that earwigs come into with a thin layer to kill any more that arrive.
When it comes to earwigs, remember that they may be benefiting your garden. Before practicing any of these methods to get rid of them, make sure that the earwigs are the culprits. Otherwise, you kill beneficial insects and still have a problem.
If the earwigs munch on your flowers and vegetables during the evening and nighttime hours, any of these traps and sprays effectively kills them. If you found a new way to get rid of earwigs, please share our earwig trap tips on Facebook or Pinterest.