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lewis
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PostSubject: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:33 pm

Okay I have a pest problem in my greenhouse now which I think has the potential to become serious if I don't do anything about it soon. My collection is getting plagued by earwigs. They will go for just about anything but seem to favour fresh soft new growth, especially that on grafts and columnars. The worse individual case thus far was a small loph graft on peresk whereby the earwigs literally hollowed out the growth point and the some of the body. fortunately said plant healed over fine and is now pupping. Many plants have sustained minor damage, it seems to heal over okay but marks the plant and more so I fear the possibility of the holes becoming infected and rot set in, especially if water should come into contact with them.
Anyway has anyone here had any success controlling these?
I would love to hear of any control methods.
oh and i hate them a lot ~ It's just not cool going into the greenhouse in the morning to discover yet more fresh destruction.
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lewis
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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:55 pm

WTF- earwigs can FLY!!??
http://www.flickr.com/photos/antbbx/3132932741/
I have NEVER seen an earwig fly.. crazy things they are. what are they trying to do take over the world?..

Research also tells me that earwigs are omnivorous and do also eat herbivorous pests including 'mites, small caterpillars and aphids'... (unconvinced.. yeah that's totally a consolation).


Last edited by lewis on Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lachy
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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:40 pm

I read somewhere on the web about earwigs being attracted to linseed oil. IIRC, someone put dishes of water with a thin layer of linseed oil on the surface around their greenhouse. Earwigs were attracted to the traps and were drowned without the need for more toxic pesticides.

I do know that earwigs seem to like living in crevices and amongst discarded waste cardboard and timber, so if you can clear up any clutter that you have around the place it may go towards eradicating the little bastards.
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intense_cutn

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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:41 pm

I can't offer a solution, but i have had the EXACT same problem this year. This is the first year i have had this poblem but it seems to be out of control, i've never seen so many earwigs in my life.

Same thing on my cacti, just eating the surface of the fresh growth, and it leaves it with white scars.

About the peres/loph grafts, we thought it was earwigs eating them, but were surprised at how much more they ate of the loph grafts than the trichs. Then one night we were out looking at the cacti. to see a big slug sitting on top of a grafted loph, and he had almost eaten one whole side.

So there you go, i have half a solution for you, SNAIL BAIT!
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Micromegas



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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:43 pm

Eagwigs are totally fucked. The biggest problem in my garden by far. Worse than heat, wind and weeds. I have 300+ cacti in the ground and they eat the tips of almost all of them. Several have been eaten so badly the apical meristem gets chopped and the plants pup from the top, which screws around significantly with their vigor and growth. And they eat fruit trees too. They are making a serious mess it is totally disheartening esp. in this adelaide heat wave. I have tried several methods of control but there are too many by far, literally thousands and thousands. Whenever i water a plant, hundreds of earwigs come crawling out of the soil. Best has been to go out every night and squish them with a knife. This at least gives the meristem a chance to outgrow the damage. But in the heatwave they don't grow and now i live away from my garden alas i cannot do this anymore so they have made a huge dent in my collection now many of the plants will pup numerously from the top and loss girth and vigor and never be the same. Interestingly, in three years of growing my cacti, in the first year I had none, second year many and now plague proportions. I don't know where they came from or why, other cacti gardens I have seen in drier or wetter climates do not have this problem. The heat keeps them under control somewhat. They usually appear in the middle of spring and dissappear around christmas but by then the damage has been done. So if you are noticing this as a problem deal with it asap if you can coz they will surely make a mess of everything you care about in the garden except native plants which seem resistent, tho they have enjoyed my quandongs. My rant is over. Eagwigs as I said are TOTALLY FUCKED i hate the little bastards and love to squish them whenever possible.
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Lachy
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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:45 pm

Jeez, that sounds like a serious infestation you've had there. Would a soaking with systemic insecticide help?
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lewis
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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:26 pm

intense_cutn wrote:
This is the first year i have had this poblem but it seems to be out of control, i've never seen so many earwigs in my life.
yeah I think we have a plague of them. It's ridiculous, I have also never seen this quantity before its just not normal.

intense_cutn wrote:
So there you go, i have half a solution for you, SNAIL BAIT!
Lol, coincidently I killed about 30 slugs today. and put so much snailbait around greenhouse floor too.
re: loph/peres grafts: I understand fully that slugs can do similar damage (in fact I've had this very thing happen), but I know that in this case it was earwigs because last week I went into my greenhouse at night with a torch and guess what; there was a fully grown earwig feasting on the top! argh!

Micromegas wrote:
Eagwigs are totally fucked
Right on!!!

Micromegas wrote:
Whenever i water a plant, hundreds of earwigs come crawling out of the soil
AHH... for some reason ever since I read this I can't stop scratching. Dude seriously I'm going to have nightmares of this for weeks to come. I can see it now, in my dream I'll watch as they devour my entire collection before my eyes, then when they've ate all my plants they'll turn their attention to me, they'll enter my ear and eat my brain they will.

wow, man Micro it sounds like you have had a real hard time with these buggers to say the least.

Lachy thanks for the linseed oil tech I might have to give it a shot.
Thanks guys for the input here team it is much appreciated.
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lewis
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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:11 pm

Okay update:
I have not got around to using the linseed oil yet, but I did get a long-life Pyrethrum-based spray which apparently lasts 20 days+- that is if not washed off with water-
I sprayed the inside perimeter of my greenhouse and the sides of some of the pots containing exceptionally prone specimens, my hoping that the earwigs will not go near it and thus far it seems to be working (have found a few disorientated-looking earwigs) but all the while being careful with the spray seeing as it is pyrethrum-based and cacti hate that stuff and it can do more damage than the pests!
On contact the spray knocks the earwigs out fast in like under 10seconds. It also kills those black cockroaches (argh I hate them there are heaps of them around) in about 20 or so. Awesome
I went around my yard and uncovered all forms of cover. Under one plank of wood there were literally hundreds of earwigs like nests of them.. ahh!! so I soaked that area with pyrethrum.

re: slugs: I applied snailbaits to the floor of the greenhouse and appear to have gotten rid of most? of them. The morning after I applied the pellets I found about 12 dying slugs yay! couple of small snails too.
weird thing was there was also one of those big black cockroaches underneath a pot which seemed normal enough but when i squished it, it was full of snailbait wtf?
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Micromegas



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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:58 pm

Nice tip about the pyrethrum I will have to give that a go.

I actually sprayed a few pots with fly spray out of crazed frustration. For a few days it worked, then I watered the plants and in another day many had turned to mush. Do not use fly spray on a cactus!

But really why I am writing is because I have discovered a solution of sorts for columnar cactus. I had been wondering how can I efficiently stop earwigs from eating the tips of a few hundred plants while I am not around to care for them, and since the tip is what is most important. I began by putting sticky tape over the top of the plant and making a sort of funnel which stoppped the earwigs mostly but it was obviously a crap way to do it, I tested a few plants then gave up coz it was frustrating and seemed like it would be bad for the plants in the long run with gathering moisture etc.

Then i tried getting old socks and putting them over the top of the plant and taping around the base so no critters could get in. A week later removed socks revealed nice fresh tips with no earwig damage and the plants seemed to enjoy the shaded tip in the heat wave tho the never growth looked tender and light in colour. Some socks were not sealed and had two dozen earwigs inside camped at the tip. No bites taken out whatsoever. I guess they don't eat where they live.

But putting that many socks on that many plants was a crazy idea and did not work for plants with heavy spination. So after a bit of lateral thinking i turned to...

Blutak.

On about half the plants I stuck a five cent piece of blutak, right on the tip, squished it in, filled in any holes created by previous earwig attack, and left my garden for a week. I came back yesterday to find the blutake had dried, and cracked open as the plant grew to reveal perfectly healthy and healed apical meristems. Even plants I has forsaken had redeveloped a nice clean meristem.

So to protect columnar cacti, blutak may be an option. It does need to be reapplied to the tip after it has cracked and been pushed off.

I also gave the garden heaps of water, it looks healthier, and the eargwigs have scaled back their plant eating operations generally. I don't know why I thought the cool weather would be great for them.

Anyway that is my earwig saga. Little bastids.
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lewis
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PostSubject: Re: earwigs...   Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:12 am

Hey Micromegas,

Yeah, the pyrethrum seems to be quite effective at keeping them away. They just don't like it. problem is it gets washed away with watering/rain.

Thanks for the tip re: blutack, I'll give that a shot on some of my more prone & vulnerable columnars.

Lately I have also noticed that the earwigs have been scaling down their plant eating offensive too. The actual population however still seems huge.

You really should try the linseed oil trap (cheers, Lachy) if you haven't already, its epic.
Get a plastic container, half fill with water, add a thin layer of linseed oil to the surface, select a place in the garden either near your plants or a known earwig colony (usually both lol), dig a small hole and place the container in it making sure it is level with the ground.
They are attracted to the oil, fall in and drown. I caught over 40 in a single night in one trap.
setting many traps could possibly go some way towards reducing the population.
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