More Nocturnal Nuisance

June 9, 2008

The same night that I emerged from deep slumber to find cutworms I also found large herds of earwigs grazing on many of my emerging perennials. Dahlias and Monarda were the primary victims. One of my Bee Balms (Monarda Didyma ‘Jacob Kline’) that I was particularly looking forward to was wiped out in a single night (fortunately, it is now showing signs of life). Here is a photo of two Dahlia shoots that probably won’t live to see another day:

When I used the work ‘herds’ to describe what I saw I was not exaggerating. On one leaf there were probably as many as 20 earwigs of all sizes (eating must be a family affair). I was able to hand pick most of them but I was still seeing occasional damage so I knew there were probably more.

Having small children at home, I really did not want to resort to chemicals. I tried the rolled newspaper trick but it didn’t seem to attract very many (a little research later reveals that I was supposed to dampen the newspaper). I researched other natural options but gave up when I discovered that Sluggo Plus helped control both earwigs and cutworms. This option was additionally attractive because it was organic and safe to use around our veggies. I still find earwigs around the garden but everything is happily growing now (even the Dahlia in the photo above sent up another shoot). Next year I’m going to try again with the simpler home remedies but I’m going to start much earlier.

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