How do I control earwigs?
Earwigs are odd looking insects which have pincers or forceps protruding from the abdomen. These are somewhat intimidating looking but they are not poisonous, and they do not spread disease.
There are many species of earwigs throughout the world. Some only eat plant material, some eat decaying vegetation, and some are predaceous.
As with any other type of insect with multiple species, biology and habits vary. Most types of earwigs generally prefer wet areas which are cooler and undisturbed. Earwigs can be a serious garden pest if conditions are right. If there is adequate ground cover, wet soil, and food, the earwigs will do well.
Will they hurt house plants?
Since some earwigs prefer young plants, besides being a garden pest, the earwigs can become an indoor pest and feed on indoor plants. Earwigs are commonly found under plant pots in the saucer that is used to catch water that drains through the soil. This wet and dark area is protected from sun. Outside, the earwigs might feed on decaying vegetation washed through the humus soil. Earwigs can attack the young plants, though, so watch for damage of plants, especially seedlings.
When plants are brought in, earwigs can remain in the saucers and prosper in the constant temperature of the indoor environment. They do need high moisture substrate, so even overwatered plant soil can be a host.
If it appears that earwigs were brought in with plants, remove the plant and shake out the earwigs outside. Dry the saucer and inspect the plant soil for other earwigs or eggs and remove these if found. Look around carpet edges inside to make sure that earwigs are not there. They can be vacuumed to remove; don’t forget to remove the bag.
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