Thank you for your question about the management of earwigs. While earwigs can be frustrating as a garden pest, they also perform a beneficial role in the landscape as an important predator of aphids.
This beneficial role is something to keep in mind as you consider how to manage the earwigs in your garden.
There are several ways to manage earwigs without using chemicals:
1. Earwigs are moisture-loving insects, so consider reducing surface moisture levels and potential hiding places. Common hiding places are under loose boards, rocks, or dense areas of garden debris.
2. Implement a regular earwig trapping process. You can create a trap using a small can (such as a tuna can) with a ½ inch of oil in the bottom. Can traps are most effective when sunk into the ground placing the top at soil lever. Other types of traps can be created from rolled-up newspaper or cardboard. Since earwigs feed most actively at night, place these traps throughout your garden before dark. In the morning shake the trap over a bucket of soapy water to catch the earwigs.
3. Good garden sanitation can also help to control earwigs. Keeping your garden clear of leaves, heavy groundcover and debris will minimize places for earwigs to hide.
Following is a link to a reference from the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management Program that provides more detailed information on earwig management: UC Davis Pest Notes: Earwigs
If you need additional information, we welcome your home garden questions at the OSU Master Gardener plant clinic. You can call and talk with the Master Gardener on duty at 541-548-6088. You can also submit questions with photos to the Master Gardener Plant Clinic email: firstname.lastname@example.org.