Earwigs can be a blessing or a nuisance depending on the situation. There are over 2,000 species of earwigs and they are mostly found in North and South America, parts of Asia, Africa and Australia. All species of earwigs have long slender bodies with a pincer on their lower abdomen.
A female earwig will lay anywhere in between 20 to 80 eggs in a two day period. These eggs resemble small pearls. After about seven days, the eggs will turn brown and the baby earwigs will hatch. The hatchlings are small white versions of the brown adult earwig, and it takes around 4-6 for them to turn into molts. Molts are kind of like a cocoon except for earwigs.
Earwigs are nocturnal insects and like to live in dark, damp and cool areas in the day time. This is also the spot where they prefer to lay their eggs. The nighttime is when these insects are most active and when they do most of their scavenging or hunting. Most earwigs’ species could be classified as omnivores—some species will strictly eat vegetation while other species will strictly eat smaller insects.
Backbiting Earwigs can Destroy Your Garden
If there are old logs in your yard, then there is a chance that earwigs will be in your garden. While they can’t devastate a large garden, unless they have huge numbers, they can cause noticeable damage to your crops. There are some species that will eat on live plant seedlings, soft fruits like strawberries and blackberries, and sweet corn; however, they do not like apples or stone fruit because of their toughness. These backbiting insects will also try to sneak into your home if the environment gets too dry, cold or hot.
Pest with Benefits
Even though earwigs have the potential to become a pest they can also be very beneficial to your garden. There are certain species that eat only small insects and butterflies. This species is called the striped earwig and they reside in southern California. Others go for small aphids. The majority of earwigs are still scavengers and that means that they will eat any dead animal or plant matter. In a way they are cleaning up your garden’s debris and fertilizing it at the same time. Most people assume that their pincers are for hunting but the earwigs rarely use it for that purpose.
Ways to Manage the Infestation
There are many tricks that you can use to control your earwig population so that they eat only other insects and none of your good plants.
- Traps – Traps are a good way of keeping backbiting earwigs off of your plants. Find a can and cut it in half. Dig a hole in the ground and place the can insideto a height where the ground is slight higher than the top part of the can. Place some vegetable oil with a little bit of bacon grease to attract the earwigs. In the morning you should find a whole lot of earwigs in the can.
- Relocations – This is like part two of the trapping method. Just take the earwigs that where in the can and locate them to another location. It is best if you move them to an area with shrubs or bushes, far away from your garden. You can also place them in areas that you know have a high infestation of other bugs so they can feed on them.
- Chemicals – There are many bug and pest repellants out on the market that will utterly get rid of your backbiting earwig population. There are even pest control companies that will charge you a small fee to exterminate earwigs from your lawn and inside your home. If you are worried about harmful chemicals, there are natural non-toxic solutions that are available on the market.
In large numbers, earwigs have the potential to destroy your crops. If you take proper precautions, you can completely get rid of backbiting earwigs from your lawn or keep them under control.Earwigs can be real menaces, but your garden can benefit a little by having a few of them around. These insects can actuallyhelp with organic pest control, by eating other pests in your garden!