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I have a lot of earwigs and spiders in my garden and flower beds. How can I kill them off without making my bed unsafe to plant vegetables in the future?

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A

Don't kill spiders, they are a gardener's best friend. Spiders eat plant pests.

Earwigs, on the other hand, eat about anything, including flower petals, leaves, other insects, and dead plant material. Earwigs are hard to control with insecticides. You can discourage earwigs by allowing the soil surface to dry out a few days between watering. But if you use mulch (and you should), they may be able to hide out there successfully.

You can trap earwigs in folds of moist newspaper - they will hide there during the daytime. Put the trap out in the evening, then go collect it in the morning about 10AM - and stuff it into a Ziploc bag so they cannot escape. Leave the bag out in the sun all day and they will be cooked to death. Then you can empty the bag into the garbage and re-use it. You can also trap earwigs in sticky traps, but it's rather messy.  Here's a link to more info about earwigs:

 

http://www.usu.edu/ust/index.cfm?article=8717

Posted on 1 Aug 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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