In general, bugs can fall into one of three categories: good bugs, bad bugs, or so-so bugs. Earwigs happen to be one of the so-so bugs. While they may have some negative characteristics such as occasionally feeding on cultivated plants, they can also be one of the good bugs. Earwigs tend to eat mostly decaying organic matter and garden insect pests so be sure the earwigs are actually causing a problem before you set out to eliminate them. If they’re eating garden plants the best way to control them is with traps:
- Hang a flowerpot upside down on a stake in the garden. Place a bit of dry moss, moistened straw or newspaper in the pot. The earwigs will climb up at the end of the evening to rest. Empty the trap each morning and dump the earwigs into soapy water.
- Cut a piece off an old garden hose and place it in the garden. The earwigs will hide in the hose. You will need to empty it each morning.
- Pour some beer into a shallow dish (empty tuna fish tins work well). Dark beer is apparently better than light and should be mixed 1:1 with water, with a bit of sugar added. In a shady spot, place the dish in the soil so the rim is just above ground level. Every few days, empty out the trap and refill. Use this method only when necessary as it also drowns beneficial creatures.
- You can also use fruit juice, corn syrup or fish oil in your trap. You can also place these mixtures in a shallow dish that’s covered with a lid. There should be enough room between the lid and the dish for the insects to crawl in and drown.
- Alternatively, you might have success drawing them away from favourite plants by regularly burying organic waste, such as banana peels and apple cores that you would normally put in your composter, in a nearby corner of your garden.