Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Earwig Damage on Parsley

Earwigs (Forficula auricularia) are a common sight in many gardens.  They are attracted to damp locations so can be found under plants, in mulch and anywhere else damp like decaying vegetable matter.  Earwings are more of a nuisance indoors.  Despite their appearance earwigs aren't harmful to humans.  There is the old wives' tale that earwigs get into your ears when you are sleeping and while it could be possible, this is quite unlikely.  Earwigs can be found indoors under damp clothing on the floor, in basements and walking across the floor as they look for a damp area to hide.  Two areas were they can get into the house is patio doors and windows at ground level.

Earwigs are predators that prey on other insects so it could be that the damage often blamed on earwigs is due to another insect that the earwigs targeting.  Earwigs are also scavengers that feed off of decaying plant matter.  They are known to feed on clover, dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhock, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberry, sunflowers, celery, peaches, plums, grapes, potatoes, roses, beans and beets.  From experience they damage clematis, marigold, petunia and some herbs.  They tend to agregate under and in outdoor potted plants where it is cool and damp. 

Earwigs can be controled by removing decaying material and mulch from around the perimeter of the house and/or as sprinkling diatomatous earth around the perimeter of the house.   They can be controled indoors by keeping all damp clothing and towels off the floor.  Insecticidal sprays to control earwigs are available but simply picking them up with a kleenex and squishing or vacuuming them up is as effective without adding chemicals to your home. 

damaged parsley
A couple of days ago I noticed damage on one of the potter herb combination planters.  I had brought both planter up to the lower patio to protect them from the storms going through.  Moving one of the planters revealed several earwigs with many more coming out of the plants when the planter was tapped.  Both planters were loaded with earwigs.  The damage to the parsley is quite obvious and that happened all within about a day and a half.  I tapped out all the earwigs from each planter then brought them indoors for a good watering.  I put them in the upper sunporch to recover.  The parsley is looking better.  We have had several earwigs getting through the patio door into the house but other than that I think the damage is under control.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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