Thursday, January 7, 2010

Earwigs in Your Lettuce?

At Kiwicare we have recently had several enquiries about how to deal with earwigs in the vegetable patch.

Earwigs are soil dwelling, usually flightless insects. They are easily identified by the large pincers at the end of the abdomen (see the photo opposite Courtesy of bramblejungle / flickr Creative Commons). Earwigs are omnivorous both hunting other insects and eating soft plant material like new shoots and soft leaves like those of your lettuce. They rarely do a lot of damage to crops but it can be off putting to find holes in your vegetables and earwigs in the hearts of your lettuce.

You will not want to use chemical insecticides on your vegetables as these usually have a withholding period in which you should not eat the crop. However, as the earwigs are soil dwelling the soil between the vegetable can be treated with a slow release, non-systemic insecticide such as NO Insects Lawngard Prills. Lawngard Prills is used to control a range of soil dwelling pest insects including grass grub, porina, ants, cluster fly larvae, carrot rust fly, slaters and earwigs. The prills or granules should be sprinkled on the soil between and around the vegetables and fruit, taking care not to get them on the crop plants. Then water them well in. The insecticide penetrates the soil and controls insects in both the larval and adult stages.

Enjoy your summer veges.

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