How to Manage Earwigs Naturally

They feed at night and look for dark, cold and damp places to socialize during the day. Some common hides are under organic material such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris, loose wood chip mulch, rotting material, rotten fruits on the ground, wood, boards or tree branches in the ground, from under the thicket of vines or thick cover and flower pots, anything moist that will shade and protect them from the sun. As well as hiding in piles of firewood that you didn’t use last year and let’s not forget to hang out inside that wooded shed you’re out back that you haven’t been inside in years. While Earwigs are scavengers, eating dead insects, decomposing plant materials they can also eat live plants and damage your vegetables and feed on plant flowers, including marigolds, petunias, hibiscus, and many other plants. Earwigs leave many small holes in the leaves and flowers of plants.

Seedlings and most flowering plants can be seriously damaged or even killed when you have a large ear population (coffee grinding will protect). Earwigs can produce large populations pretty quickly and can become a major problem for the homeowner overnight! They are attracted to lights so they come in at night attracted to any lights that are on; as well as any lights you have during the day that will cause them to hang out especially if it’s a cool area. Earwigs can be found in most homes and can enter through entry points such as doors and windows, going up through the broken walls and any cracked openings, broken screens. They have a beneficial role in the landscape and have been shown to be important predators of aphids, mites, most insect eggs, and most soft body insects such as white flies. They have a very disagreeable smell when crushed.

Some Natural Controls

Tip: pillows are attracted to moisture

Managing water around the outside of the house. Repair any leaks. Convert to the leak system to keep water underground. Regular weed control and clean up dead debris. Eliminate areas of high humidity around walls, in mulches, under stones, boards, etc. Manage damp conditions in crawling areas, faucets, along foundations. Change landscaping by creating a dry border immediately around the walls of the house. Gravel or flat stones can make an attractive barrier against earwigs and other pest invaders. Rain gutters should direct water away from the house. Caulk or use weather stripping at all possible access points such as doors, windows, pipes, repair screens and doors and windows. Where earwigs are a problem, remove hides with high humidity levels. Start a regular daily trapping program. The removal of earwig habitats is very important for the control of all insects, including earwigs. As they are attracted to lights, stop lights outside at night. Turn off the white light and replace with some yellow LEDs.

Inside the Home

Indoor earwigs should be emptied daily; be sure to kill and dispose of them by dumping them into a plastic bag and tying them up and throwing them into trash, promptly so they don’t re-invade. If earwigs are a regular problem in a building, inspect the area to see how they get into the house and seal and slack cracks and all access points. Repair all broken screens.

Natural Sprays

Essential Oil Spray

You can make a natural spray that will keep them from entering the house. Use 1/2 oz of the gallon water of any of the following essential oils available

1. citronella oil

2. cinnamon oil

3. pennyroyal oil

4. clove oil

5. lavender oil

6. citrus

7. basil

8. any natural essential oil can be used, the above are few. Try yours.

Citrus Spray Use OTKO, Natural Citrus Cleaner. Spray straight through sister. Kills earwigs and most insects when exposed. Soap Spray Use any natural castile soap like Dr. Bronners soaps. They make pepper mint, lavender, almond, tea tree and many other natural sources. Use 1oz per gallon water. It will kill earwigs when sprayed.

DE SPRAY DE Cadren Grade can be added to water and injected. The best way is to put some DE in a panty hose and soak it in gallon water. Let it sit, pour into a gallon sprayer and spray. when dried the south acts as a barrier and kills and earwigs that crawl over it. You can use only dust the areas with it.


Vacuum, vacuum vacuum ad …

Vacuum any earwigs inside your house. Vacuum very thoroughly and as often as needed. Throw the bags in the trash.

Natural Dust

Garden Grade DE can be used as dust around the house as well as under the house and attic. Lightly dust and allow to sit.

Boric Acid can be used as dust in cracks and other areas between the walls of the house.

Population Reduction:

Traps inside the house are one continuous way of controlling earwigs in the home on regular long-term bases.

Miscellaneous Traps

Ultimate Flea Trap is by far the best insect trap on the market. This one uses no chemicals and is only attracted to the light by a small light with a sticky mat that gets the insects trapped. Put one in each room with headsets. It also works on fleas (hence the name) as well as on spiders, cockroaches and most other insects.

Outside the house

Remove materials outside the perimeter of the building that may provide cover, such as ivy, plant debris, leaves in gutters, old wooden piles, old leaf litter, newspaper piles, or other organic material. Cladding and repair of cracks, crevices, and other openings around the foundation or around the outside of the house. Manage moisture around the building by repairing or replacing leaking faucets, leaking air conditioners, leaking drains, controlling water entering the base after it has rained, and providing crawl spaces to allow access. Repair or change conditions to promote a drier environment. Caulk and weather track around doors. windows. bathroom water outlets as well as electrical outlets.

Go through any interior spaces that are dark and can hide. Cardboard boxes will be a great place for them to hang inside the house. Remove any other debris such as old unused firewood. Always keep moisture away from your home by repairing any defective rains, keeping the grading in an area so that water drains away from the home, and by maintaining proper ventilation in crawl areas to allow the area to dry .

Earwigs are attracted to outdoor lighting, so replace them with Yellow LED lights, which are less appealing to earwigs. The exterior should be treated with natural garden grade DE applications around the base of the building, flower beds, mulch and turf areas within a couple of yards of the building, as well as in the crawl space areas of the home. Handle in two feet band around building near base to restrict earwigs from entering. Establish a dry border around the base of the houses for great control.

Traps outside the house

Newspaper: Rolled wet newspaper held together with a rubber band.

Cardboard Box: Punch pencil sized holes along the bottom edge of the cardboard box.

Old Garden Pipe: pieces of garden pipe 12-24 inches

Used cat food can. Add 1/2 inch beer or wine of any kind.

Crockery: Use a tupper machine as a plastic container. Punch holes along the top edge of the tub, add 2 inches of any cheap wine and cover it with the top and sink it to the ground.

Finch Bird House can be used as a housing unit where you can place a 1/2 oz 1/2 plastic cup filled with beer or wine. We’ll try one of each and see which attracts the most.

Trapping is an effective and easy method of reducing earworm populations.

A key component of a natural ear management program is a daily operating trapping system. Just before dusk, put the bird-trap traps through the yard in places out of sight. In the morning, shake the traps out over a pool of Dr Bronners Soap / water or any natural soapy water. Keep trapping until you catch no more earwigs. Traps can be hidden near bushes and ground cover, or against the house. For fruit trees, keep weeds, brush, and suckers (always pruning) away from the base of trees all year round because they are a refuge for earwigs, snails, and other creatures. Monitor populations by counting how many earwigs are caught in the traps.

Removal of Habitat:

Changing the habitat around your garden will reduce population and ear damage. Get rid of their hides: boards, weeds, wood piles, plant debris, leaf litter, and any other objects that create dark, damp hides. Do not plant dense ground coverings, such as ivy, mint, herbs, next to vegetable or flower gardens. Build fragile seedlings inside until they can withstand some blasting. Or start them outdoors on a table with legs protected by sticky barriers.

Some people advise against using organic mulch because they say it provides harborage to pests such as earwigs and spiders. I have the opposite view that organic mulch offers a varied hunting ground for earwigs that will save your plants as well as provide for the earth’s needs. It is easy to keep turf clean from earwigs by garden grade dust several times a year or by dust just before and after each time you apply a new layer of mulch. Spraying the mulch with any natural soap will also control them.

Andy Lopez

The Invisible Gardener

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