Sunday, July 12, 2009

Organic Earwig Control & a Great Book

We have a bit of an earwig problem in the Locavore garden. They have been helping themselves to some of our herbs, and the little gluttons have left big holes in our basil. It usually wouldn't be too much of a problem with me, as I don't mind sharing, but this isn't my garden and will only have so many basil plants.

So how to take care of this problem? Well, first we need to find an organic solution. We could always go the way of my Grandmother, who went out religiously every summer night to squash the little buggers with gloved hands while the feasted on her wild rose bushes. I was lucky that my job was just holding the flash light!

Since I don't have the stomach for that method, I will have to use an alternative.

Clean North has a pretty nifty webpage dedicated to getting rid of non-beneficial insects in the garden, without the use of pesticides. This is what they suggest to get rid of earwigs in the garden:

The most effective way to control an earwig problem is to use trapping devices.

- Place folded or rolled up newspapers in between flowers and vegetables at night. Earwigs will hide between the sheets come daylight.

- Try packing a pot with loose straw, turning it upside-down on a stick, and place it among your violets. This produces a trap where earwigs will shelter during the day. Be sure to destroy the contents of the trap each day.

- Place cardboard boxes baited with oatmeal or bran in your garden. Punch pencil-sized entry sites in the sides near the bottom. Again, frequently destroy the contents of the trap.

- Another trap consists of placing a tuna can into a shallow pot or saucer. Fill the pot or saucer with potting soil up to the rim of the can. Inside the can, put a heaping tablespoon of bread crumbs and add about a half inch of cookies oil. Place the pot or saucer among your violets. The earwigs will be lured into the can. Once inside the can, they become coated in the oil, rendering them incapable of escaping.

To destroy trapped earwigs: Shake specimens into hot/boiling water or burn trapped earwigs in newspaper rools. Indoors, remove with broom and dustpan or with a vacuum cleaner.

I will give it a try and post the results.

I found a beautiful book at my local library called Women of the Harvest: Inspiring Stories of Contemporary Farmers

It features the stories of 17 different women farmers in America, and talks about the hopeful 'new trend' of women being the fastest growing group buying and operating small farms. One significant thing that seems to be tied to this is that they are approaching farming in a holistic way, and are using organic methods. They are looking to serve their local communities, and to share and exchange knowledge with others.

This is a encouraging for other women who wish to get into farming, and I encourage anyone who is interested in sustainable farming to read this book.

You can find more info about the book here.




Anonymous said...

this is a amazing book...thank you for introducing it to your readers. i hope that you are able to get the ear wigs to stop eating your garden.

Hertha said...

This seems like pretty sound advice. I do hope those those little nasties are taken care of. If it doesn't work, I would probably just get out the raid.

nefaeria said...

Thanks to you both!

Medusae said...

Grooooodyyy! I, too, have earwigs and they disgust me to no end. I shivered reading the story about your grandmother's technique! BLEK.

I was told the problem with my tomatoes are that slugs are getting to them.. they look fine and large and red except for these strange black slices on the surface of them!?

nefaeria said...

Hehe, gross indeed! They are nasty little buggers. I still haven't set up the traps, but I hope to in the next couple of days (it's hard to get your hands on tuna cans when you don't eat it!).

To be honest I don't know if that is a slug problem or not with your nightshade toms. I have seen the holes they leave in the foilage (similar to catapillars and earwigs with some slime), but never in the fruit. Is is just on the fruit or are the whole plants affected?

I very well could be wrong, but it sounds like it might be late blight or blossom-end rot.

A great way to find out is to take some peektures, and post it on the You Grow Girl forums (you can find the links under 'Blogs We Like'.

Good luck with that! :)