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Earwigs... a gardeners nemesis

Aldetha
Published on September 20th 2018
19
At this time of year, you may have noticed your Clematis, Chrysanthemum’s, Cosmos and Dahlias are being attacked by a mysterious nightcrawler; Large holes and little circular marks may be appearing along the edge of the flower and on the petal surface. But what is causing it?

Dahlia

Dahlia spp.

Chrysanthemum 'Poppins'

Chrysanthemum 'Poppins'

A close up of a pink flower of a Cosmos bipinnatus plant.

Cosmos

Cosmos bipinnatus

Chrysanthemum 'Bran Series'

Chrysanthemum 'Bran Series'

Earwigs Forficula auricularia are about 14mm long, dark brown, nocturnal munchers that disappear into dark crevices during the day and love a nibble on a flower from time-to-time.
Females have straight pincers and males are curved.

Do they do any good in the garden?

Earwigs are omnivorous so they may damage your flowers but they do also eat aphids, so why not move trapped insects over to your rose bushes or apple trees if you have a pest problem with them.
Don't despair as it is quite easy to catch the little devils (without harming them!).

Making an earwig trap...

Step 1 Collect a plant pot and push in a newspaper, straw or corrugated cardboard so that it forms an excellent hiding place. Keep the material moist. If the paper keeps falling out, make a hole either side of the pot and push a twig across the bottom.
Step 2 Place the flowerpot upside down in the area where you have seen the damage. Or balance it upside down on a cane amongst your Dahlias.
Step 3 In the morning collect the pot and either tip the earwigs into your compost heap or leave by an aphid infestation.
If you have any hints and tips that you use to capture earwigs do let us know.
Happy bug hunting!

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