Hi all, I am having great problems with earwigs and the only way I can reduce their numbers it to capture them in news paper and take them to my mother-in-laws chooks, but this is not too practical due to distance and I cannot own chooks in this property as it's a rental. Can you suggest anything that could help reduce them? Ps I live in Melbourne and it's very wet here at the moment, which I know they like.

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Hi Peter,
I haven't had problems with earwigs myself (yet) but I've got a great book on plant pests and diseases that recommends shaking them into a bucket of soapy water after you have caught them. I guess then once they are dead you can chuck them in the compost. The other control methods it recommended was to remove all material that earwigs might shelter in during the day including decaying plant material but I just can't imagine a garden without mulch.
It is important that you confirm it is the earwigs causing you problems too. There are several beneficial and native species of earwig that you don't want to kill. Sometimes damage caused be other beetles or pests can be blamed on earwigs when the earwigs are really only eating mulch. The native earwigs generally have reddish brown foreparts and legs. The pest earwigs tend to be a smooth shiny brown 12 - 20 mm in length or shiny black 12 - 15mm in length. There is a beneficial brown earwig that is larger than the pest species (30mm length).
I hope that helps
Hi Katharine, I have both, I put some cardboard down and there are a large number of small reddy brown ones, but also a few larger shiny ones.
I have found on closer inspection a bunch of little slugs also, thanks for the heads up on what to look for, I will be giving them a beer bath this weekend.
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the bonsai tree :) Sounds like you have mostly native earwigs that would only be eating you mulch so I think you are correct in focusing on the slugs. I put crushed up egg shells around my leafy green to deter slugs and snails as they don't like to crawl over it and I've heard wood ash can also be used although with wood ash you might need to investigate futher. I've only ever added it to the garden and compost in small quantities.
My best defense against slugs and snails is having a garden that birds and lizards love living in.

Peter Smee said:
Hi Katharine, I have both, I put some cardboard down and there are a large number of small reddy brown ones, but also a few larger shiny ones.

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