The Earwig: Garden Friend or Foe

                                                                            The Earwig: Garden Friend or Foe

 

  

Recently while collecting rose petals in Laci’s Rose garden I noticed earwigs on some of the blossoms. Immediately upon seeing the horrendous creatures I panicked thinking I had serious problem and began researching these obnoxious looking creatures. Well naturally the first stop was Wikipedia, I was flabbergasted to learn that there are about 2,000 species of these funny looking critters. And they are found throughout the Americas, Africa, Eurasia, and New Zealand. Around 2,000???? For those of you whom may not have an understanding of entomology…That is a small insect order, which is called Dermaptera. However, upon further research what I found not only surprised me but I’m not so sure that having earwigs in the garden is necessarily a bad thing.

You see earwigs, are omnivorous and while having carnivore tendencies, don’t actually burrow into your ears and lay their eggs in your brain. (If you’re like me you’re probably still waiting for the science fiction movie about this old wives tale!!)

You’re probably wondering how I can say that these ghastly looking creatures are not such a bad thing to have in your garden. Well since they do have carnivore tendencies and their favorite meal is Aphids, and since we all are aware of the damage Aphids will do to our Roses and succulents in your gardens, this makes the Earwig a protective predator, along with Lady Bugs and the very interesting looking Praying Mantis. So if you see an Earwig on your roses perhaps a closer inspection of your plants is in order. Since they also have vegetarian tendencies my concern quickly turned to damage to the roses. Turns out they actually prefer to forage in the decaying matter in the garden.

Will they damage crops? Well they do like the silk on corn, Can you blame them? We all love the taste of sweet corn that Monsanto has not gotten their hands on. In addition they have also been known to feast on beets, ornamental and vegetable plants, dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhocks, lettuce, strawberries, potatoes, roses, and seedling beans. Usually the damage will be minor.

Like most insects their primary function after staying alive is to propagate their species. What do we do to control them should they become a serious threat to our gardens. First we need to understand a little about their preferred living conditions. They prefer damp moist areas, hence the decaying matter such as your composting pile. Understanding this and the fact they are primarily a nocturnal critter it becomes pretty easy to control with organic philosophies especially if you develop a problem around your food producing plants, you really do not want to spray with chemicals that will have adverse affects when consumed.

There is one natural enemy of the Earwig. The Tachnid Fly. You can attract this particular Fly by planting alyssum, fennel, calendula, or dill. Other methods you may use are rolled up newspapers (do we still have newspapers???) or cardboard as a trap by rolling either product into a cylinder with some straw or oatmeal inside and taping one end closed. In addition you can also use diatomaceous earth. However, keep in mind the use of diatomaceous earth will also have an adverse effect on earthworms. But if you have a serious earwig problem you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of a plant. Most insects won’t return to someplace where death has occurred for a while, so should you chose this route just keep an eye out for their return. Another method of controlling the creatures is by using vegetable or fish oils in dishes placed around the garden.  Should you find them inside your home perhaps a call to your local pest control guy would be needed. Many people do have flower beds near and around their homes. You can help keep them at bay by using gravel type mulches and making sure that you gardening areas are far enough from the foundation so you can keep it dry.

So can you be bitten??? Not really, but these critters can use their pincher to inflict a nasty pinch!! Not to worry they are not poisonous, which makes the primary concern from a pinch infection. Be sure to examine the area for any broken parts of the pincher under your skin, especially if you have stepped on one. The pinch can be quiet painful and may even cause a little bleeding. Clean the infected area with a disinfectant and you should be OK. If you have symptoms after a day or two you may be experiencing an allergic reaction and may want to contact your physician. And for obvious reasons…personal protective gear of gloves and shoes will help prevent a pinch from these most misunderstood garden critters.

So the next time you see Earwigs in your garden don’t panic. Say thanks to the misunderstood obnoxious looking creature as the little critter is more than likely telling you that you have a bigger problem to deal with…his dinner.

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Sources…..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwig

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/how-to-control-earwigs

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74102.html

http://voices.yahoo.com/

 

earwig-bites-if-earwig-bite-4907754.html

 

Farmers Market

Lillys 003Aladay Organic Farms will be at the Dayton farmers market today at the Community Roots Garden Center and Nursery from 3pm to 6pm. Today’s harvest will include Lemon basil, Queenette basil and of course Italian Basil for your Pesto needs. In addition we will have Greek Oregano, French tarragon, German Winter Thyme, English Sage, and Spearmint. We will also have White Sage smudges and tea mixes along with our complete line of Mugwort supplies. Don’t forget we also have many different Peacock Feather Displays and Peacock Feathers available for your hobby and arts and crafts projects. For those of you looking for a unique gift or just something to fill that spot in the corner or your patio or deck we will have a nice selection of out One-of-a-Kind Planters available. We are now able to accept Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express. Please be patient with us on our site as we still have to work out the details for accepting credit cards through the secure systems for online shopping…

Aladay LLC is an extremely diversified company. Specializing in culinary, holistic herbs and chilies, you will always find us at one of the local Farmers Markets with freshly harvested herbs and our latest products.

In addition we offer the following services; Consultations for the newly developing business Entrepreneur, organic farming, glass, mirror, window services, and consultations for the Property Preservation Industry. In addition to our consultation services we also offer custom raised planter beds, dried Holistic Herbs and Teas, Peacock Feathers displays for your store or home, or individual feathers for your arts and crafts projects and hobby’s.

During the Growing season customers are always welcome to come to the farm to purchase freshly harvested herbs for their culinary needs. We harvest while you wait to ensure our customers the freshest possible products. Call for availability and appointment.

Organics to You At a Price You'll Love

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