Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Plants looking ragged? It's probably earwigs!

Earwigs (Forficula auricular) are starting to show up both outside and inside. Earwigs generally feed on dead insects and rotting plant material; however, they are also known to feed on flowers, fruit, and foliage of vegetable, fruit, ornamental, and field plants when populations are numerous. Their feeding causes small, irregular holes, and can give foliage a ragged appearance in severe infestations. This insect, which is about an inch long, is easily identifiable by the prominent pair of pincers on the tip of the abdomen. Earwigs are nocturnal creatures and hide in dark, moist places under stones and in debris or sometimes in bark during the day. They may find their way into houses and garages—particularly during periods of prolonged warm, dry weather like we are having now. Inside they seek out moist areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and kitchens where they feed on sweet, oily or greasy foods, in addition to houseplants. Since they feed on insect larvae, they are considered beneficial.

How to manage the pest.  Removing plant debris from your garden will remove some of their hiding places. Place rolled up newspapers on the ground near problem areas. Check the "newspaper traps" in the morning for earwigs. Shake the earwigs into a pail of soapy water. For indoor control, eliminate damp conditions in crawl spaces, near faucets, around air-conditioning units, and along house foundations. Keep moist mulches three feet away from the house foundation, window wells, and doorways, if you have a serious earwig problem. Trim back vegetation and remove ground covers near foundations that contribute to moisture retention. And finally, move wood piles away from the house.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. offers plant health care as well as a highly knowledgeable staff that includes 4 certified arborists.  When you choose Trees "R" Us, Inc. you can rest assured that you've made the right choice for your tree care, tree maintenance, and plant health care needs.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. services the North Shore and the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.  You can contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. via the web at or by phone at 847-913-9069.

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