Have you ever set an ear wig trap?…Or should I call them ewwww wig traps? Haha…fair warning, some of these pictures are gross.
We’re trapping bugs though, so it’s the name of the game.
If you’re like me, just when you get your garden going, so do the ear wigs. Those creepy crawly bugs who look like they crawled out of an alien space ship from Men In Black, come out at night and munch on your tender plants, sometimes killing them. Eep!
(scroll down to get a closer look)
If you’re not sure if it’s ear wigs eating your plants, that’s how you find out. They are nocturnal. Go out at night and see if they are crawling on your plants. Easy.
Also easy…I’m sharing two tried and true ways to get rid of ear wigs.
Before we get into that, I should tell you that I am a mostly organic gardener, so all of these methods are organic. It also means they won’t completely wipe out ALL of the ear wigs. Ear wigs are actually not all that bad. They eat other bugs you don’t want, like aphids, dust mites, and dead bugs, so having a few around is not so bad. Having a ton of them though…well that’s probably why you’re here reading this post! Ha! 😉 So the goal with the methods I share is to reduce the population, not eradicate them.
Oil and Soy Sauce Traps
I have been using this method for years and it really works!
I’ve tried other methods like setting out empty tubes and they work…meh, so so. These oil and soy sauce traps are super effective and sometimes even trap ants! (I just discovered that this year.)
All you need is a small shallow-ish dish*, oil (get the cheap stuff), and soy sauce.
*I like to use old tuna cans for the dishes.
Mold a space for the dish to sit in the soil. Ideally, you want the top of the container to be level with the ground.
Fill it with equal parts oil and soy sauce (give or take) and place them in the space you molded.
The soy sauce smell attracts the ear wigs and the oil traps them and kills them.
You should get results after one night.
If you aren’t catching any or many, double check that it’s ear wigs eating your plants. You may have another pest doing most of the work.
If I don’t expect rain, I will leave the traps out for a few days to a week. Then I set traps again until the population is controlled.
Once my plants look healthy again, I remove them. Sometimes I will set them out again later in the season if needed.
If you have a serious ear wig problem, I recommend applying some Diatomaceous Earth in addition to the traps. This is the stuff I use (click on the image to go to my affiliate link, which gives me a small commission and doesn’t affect your price):
It looks like a fine white chemical like powder but it’s purely made up of ground up fossilized aquatic organisms. Simply shake a dusting of it over the affected area. Make sure the area is dry because it’s useless when wet.
It cuts up the bodies of the ear wigs and other pests that walk over it until they die. Gross…I know! I only use it when I’m desperate. I will sometimes dust it around my potted plants that are getting eaten up. When I water my plants I simply wash it away. No harm to humans or pets. In fact, you can apply it to your pets to control ticks, lice, etc.
That’s it! Those are my tried and true organic tricks for getting rid of (or controlling) ear wigs.
If you have other methods you like to use, I would love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments.