When you garden, you're bound to run into some insects. Of course, many homeowners are happy to keep these bugs outdoors and most can be harmless. However, some, like earwigs, can be seriously detrimental to your garden's livelihood.
Earwigs feast on the flowers, fruits and vegetables that you plant in your garden. Roses, strawberries, zinnias, lettuce and potatoes are particularly susceptible to being eaten by earwigs. Earwigs aren't much of a pest to humans outside of the garden. As Washington State University explained, tales about earwigs going into people's ears are unfounded and they usually have trouble surviving indoors.
Whether in your outdoor garden, window boxes or greenhouse, look for holes on the flowers or buds of various plants as well as untouched leaves - this is a sign of an earwig infestation. If you suspect a large earwig problem in your home or your garden, contact your local pest control company to get the right treatment to keep earwigs at bay. You may even want to talk to pest control services preventively, as earwigs don't all die over the winter. Many hibernate or lay eggs and infest your garden again in the spring.
Here are a couple of important steps you can take to prevent earwigs from taking over your garden and eating your fruits and flowers in the first place.
Check at night
If you aren't sure whether or not you have earwigs in your garden, it may be because they hide during the daytime. The Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour advised homeowners to go out to their gardens at night with a flashlight and to dig around looking for earwigs. These pests are most active during the night, so you'll likely see some and maybe even catch them in the act if you have an infestation. If you do spot earwigs in your garden, talk to pest management experts to get the garden help you need.
Earwigs are particularly drawn to moist and dark areas. Near many people's gardens there are plenty of these. Homeowners can simply remove things like leaf piles, wood heaps, mulch mounds and stones. Keeping bushes trimmed and lawns cut can also help reduce the likelihood that earwigs will settle in your garden.
If you do find earwigs indoors, you may have a crack or hole in your home's exterior. Consider caulking or patching it - it's the best thing for both you and the earwigs, since they have very little interest in humans.