[NAFEX] Three insects- earwigs

Diane Whitehead voltaire at islandnet.com
Thu May 6 13:27:14 EDT 2004

>   Earwigs are bad but at least they are mostly just out at night.

On the whole, earwigs are beneficial.  I first discovered this in the 
several years when winter moth arrived in our area, from Europe via 
nursery stock from the Maritimes, (the Canadian provinces on our 
Atlantic coast).  Trees were completely defoliated, fruit didn't form 
as the interior of the flowers were eaten while still in bud, it 
sounded like rain from all the frass raining down from large maples, 
and when the caterpillars ate everything from the tree they were on, 
they would swing on incredibly long strands of silk, hoping to find 
something else to eat. Birds didn't seem to help much, but I saw 
earwigs carrying caterpillars down out of the trees.  Unfortunately, 
we didn't have enough earwigs for the job, but fortunately, a natural 
control (a parasitic wasp, I think) was found in Europe, imported 
here, and after about four years of devastation, we could remove the 
sticky bands from the trunks of our fruit trees and enjoy home-grown 
fruit again.

Earwigs also eat aphids, spider mites, various insect eggs, and even 
small slugs.

Diane Whitehead  Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
sandy soil

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