How do I keep earwigs away from my beautiful Dahlia plants?
This is a common question around December when earwigs appear to favour dahlias. Usually, earwigs are not a major problem in the home garden, and they play an important part in its ecosystem as they feed on decayed plant material and other insects.
Earwigs are nocturnal and feed at night. Removing places they can hide during the day can help reduce numbers - they can be found under stones, in long vegetation, and other dark, damp places. Regular garden hygiene such as keeping the garden clear of leaf litter and rotting vegetation is also important.
Another trick is to stuff some pots with pea straw or hay and place them upside down on stakes near your dahlias. Earwigs will seek shelter in them during the day so you can collect and remove them. You can also try making your own bamboo stake traps as earwigs like to hide in the hollow stems. Poke thick bamboo stakes into the ground at night next to your plant (be careful not to damage the roots/tuber). In the morning, pull them up gently and tap the earwigs out (dispose of them however you wish). You will need to do these techniques regularly.
There are a number of commercial traps available that easily collect earwigs – ask your local garden centre.
Some people have also had good results spraying plants with Neem oil or using Neem granules in the soil.
Top tip: Slugs and snails also like to dine on dahlias, so sprinkle some bait on the ground around plants.
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