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Bug Off!

July 19, 2010 - Jane Whitmore

Do you remember those “bugs” Lori told us about a couple of weeks ago? They are called earwigs and they’re all over -- including inside my screen doors and my mailbox. It’s disgusting!
To outwit these little buggers, you have to be smarter than the bug. Right? Google “earwig” and a plethora of information comes before your eyes. I learned that they hide during daylight hours and feed in gardens at night.
Articles I read also give the positive side, noting that earwigs are predators of aphids. One article I read said if there is not an infestation, the best policy is to live and let live.
Never do I remember seeing these numbers of earwigs. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing earwigs at all.
There are myriad methods to collect these unwanted guests. Here’s some of what I learned:
Number one is to eliminate hiding places; damp, dark hiding places. This includes leaf debris, wood piles, upturned pots and underneath stepping stones. Also, encourage birds to the garden with feeders and a bird bath so they can eat the bugs.
There are several methods of trapping earwigs. Loosely roll sections of newspaper, secure with a rubber band and soak in water until thoroughly wet. Before nightfall, place earwig traps in areas where damage has been found. Pick up the traps every morning. Earwigs will have found their way deep inside the rolls of newspaper during the night. Dispose of the traps in tightly covered containers.
Another suggestion is to fill a low-sided can with one-half inch of vegetable oil and place the can on the ground. Earwigs will find their way in and drown.
Having an aversion to touching, or even looking at, a bunch of bugs, and determined to conquer the problem on my own, I decided to try some sprays. These critters pretty much walked through the first bug spray and the eco friendly bug spray, plus the spray supposedly formulated for specific types of pests, including earwigs.
Next I thought about sevin powder which is commonly used in the garden.?I thought these buggies would walk through the powder and carry it to their nests. (Did you know that female earwigs dig into the ground to lay their eggs, 30 or more, twice a season?) Then my neighbor said there is a spray called eight that would do the trick.
Armed with sevin and eight, I applied some of each where I had seen the most earwigs. I don’t know which has worked, the sevin or the eight, but there is a dramatic decline in earwig sightings. Maybe it’s a combination of the two -- 15? A product called Demon is also supposed to be highly effective.
Consumer comments online have other home remedies: sudsy mix of liquid detergent, water and alcohol kills them in seconds; or, fill a bowl with water, place a piece of apple, orange, carrot, potato in the middle and the earwig will smell the fruit or vegetable and try to get to it, but drown in the process.
We’re not 100-percent bug free around my house, but at least earwigs aren’t greeting me at the door or falling off the mail when I take it out of the box. We’re making progress.                                                   --Jane Whitmore


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