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Artichoke Pests: Earwigs

>2 May 2012
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I think the last time I showed you guys my artichokes, they had been severely frost damaged. I’m happy to report they’ve bounced back just fine!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching with great excitement as my artichoke plants have begun setting their first fruits since I planted them last spring.

I check on their progress every day. EVERY DAY people.

Have I told you how much I love artichokes?

So, when I went outside to examine my little globes a couple of days ago and found this…

Noooooooo!

They were infested!!

Darned Earwigs.

I hopped online to look up a remedy. There were tales of people using a wet, rolled up newspaper laid out overnight to lure earwigs in. Or an empty tuna can full of oil or wine as a trap. But none of that was quick enough for me. The damage to my plants had to be stopped immediately!

This was war people.

I ran to the shed and grabbed the only thing I had, Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer. And I sprayed mercilessly.

No, it isn’t organic. But it’s made with “botanical insecticides”, and it was better than letting the bugs destroy my plants. So yeah, that was that.

And the problem was taken care of almost immediately. Ha! Take that mean ol’ bugs.

And then I cleaned out all the old mulch from underneath the plants, clipped off the dead branches, added some aged chicken manure and several inches of new compost, hoping to boost the plant’s health and ability to withstand new pests.

Here’s hoping for some fresh artichokes!

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10 Comments »

  • Raquel H. said:

    Earwigs are so gross! I would have done the same thing, in anger. I hope you get lots more artichokes… there is still lots of growing time ahead.

  • Michelle H. said:

    I feel your pain. We are having a pest problem with something eating our strawberries. It is so disheartening to watch your food get eaten by pests after all your hard work.

  • SJ Smith said:

    Earwigs are always bad here. These are a few tricks I’ve learned.
    1) Plant some swiss chard as early as possible. For me, that is in the Fall. I don’t like the stuff; but use it as an indicator plant for the earwigs. When I notice a few wholes in the chard leaves, I know the earwigs are alive and kicking.
    2) Put out small jars with oil in them. I use old oil I’ve fried taco shells in or whatever is cheapest at the grocery store. There should be about an inch or two of oil at the bottom of the jar.
    In the evening, place the jars in the garden where there is evidence of earwigs. I slant them a bit so they can climb in; but don’t worry too much about access because they will find their way into the jar no matter where you place it. It’s like chocolate is to us women, and they’ll smell it from all over the yard and climb into the jar. They get in and can’t get out. They suffocate in the oil.
    Every few days, check the jar and use a garden strainer to remove the bugs (chickens or wild birds will eat them so nothing is wasted) and put the oil back into the jars. It usually takes me a few weeks to get rid of them all. When I’m convinced they’re numbers are reasonable, I toss the sealed jar – oil and all – into the trash.

    FYI…. did you know those things fly???? No kidding. This is the first place I’ve ever lived that they fly; and now is when they do (at least here). It only lasts a few weeks, thankfully…. and I just put the oil in my garden a few nights ago; since they’d been eating the tops off my seedlings as they emerged. And it sure is working.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Thanks for all of that advice, SJ! I’ll have to try that preventatively. I love that you re-purpose your skillet grease! :) And yeah, I had no idea they could fly. Very weird.

  • Sheri said:

    I use diatomaceous earth (DE)around and on my fruits & veggies. I had a problem with something eating my germinating seeds in the garden (under soil) and now work it into my soil as a pre-treatment prior to planting. I buy it in 50 pound bags (food grade) from a local farm supply for about $27.95. Smaller boxes in garden shops are very expensive.

    I had not heard about using old cooking oil before, TY for the great tips. I have a lot of bug problems here in Washington State but my main problem is slugs and aphid. Here’s a few links to check out. DE is also good to put into your pet’s (large & small) food to kill internal pests and is also okay for human usage. Here’s a couple links to get you reading.

    http://www.richsoil.com/diatomaceous-earth.jsp
    http://www.ghorganics.com/DiatomaceousEarth.html

    Shalom

  • Michelle H. said:

    Are these the same little black bugs you find on cucumbers?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Michelle,

    I’ve never seen earwigs on my cucumbers. Though, I’ve had good fortune not to have any problems with pests on my cukes so far ;)

  • Tami said:

    I am having such a hard time with these horrible bugs… We just moved into our home a little over a year ago… I have them infesting my basement. When it rains, they come upstairs. We vacuum weekly to keep the supply down and it still doesn’t help. We have sealed all cracks and have not found the source of where they are coming in. Driving me crazy… I live in northern WI. They are ridiculous. One night in a tent, they will consume your tent poles. You have to bang the poles to get them out. They destroyed my garden as well… My neighbors do not seem to have issues in their basements though. Hoping someone figures out what to do… Oil does not work for me… Home defense spray is useless… Diatamaceous Earth is money thrown out the window for me. HELP!!!! Any more ideas is deeply appreciated.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Tami,

    First, I would encourage earwig predators to come to my yard. Toads and birds in particular. Toads like to hide under things like an upside down pot with a crack big enough to squeeze through, and bird houses will help attract more birds to your home. Backyard chickens will also help eradicate an infestation.

    You might also need to clear out certain plants and planting materials from around your home’s foundation. Ivy, ground cover, bark mulches, leaves in gutters, wood piles, leaf piles, newspapers, or other organic matter will encourage more earwigs to hand out there. HTH!

  • SJ Smith said:

    When you first see damage, I put out homemade earwig traps. Use a throw away jar or can, and put an inch or two of the cheapest corn oil you can find in it. Who cares if it’s GMO… it’s bait. Any vegetable oil will do. Earwigs can’t resist and will find their way into the oil to feed under the cover of night, and then drown.
    I use a $ Store strainer to remove the dead bugs (which become chicken food) and reuse the oil a few times until the earwig population is under control. However, I have had animals tip the jars over to eat the bugs and possibly the oil before. sigh. This method is normally only necessary once a year here… in the Spring when my garden seems to be the favorite menu.

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