What to spray on dahlias for earwigs?

Answered by Robert Flynn

To treat dahlias that have pincher bugs, also known as earwigs, there are several steps you can take. It’s important to check your dahlias daily for any signs of earwig damage, as these pests can quickly cause significant harm to the plants.

1. Identify the damage: Earwigs typically feed on the petals, leaves, and stems of dahlias. They leave behind irregular holes and chewed edges, which can easily be mistaken for slug damage. Look for these signs to confirm the presence of earwigs.

2. Spray with insecticidal soap: If you spot live earwigs on your dahlias, you can spray them directly with insecticidal soap. This product kills the bugs on contact but does not have any residual action, meaning it won’t provide long-term protection. Follow the instructions on the soap’s label for proper application.

3. Create a trap: One effective method to control earwigs is to create a trap using a can of tuna fish packed in oil. Open the can and partially bury it in the ground near your dahlias. The earwigs will be attracted to the smell and crawl into the can, where they will be trapped. Check the trap regularly and dispose of the captured earwigs.

4. Use diatomaceous earth: Another natural option is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of your dahlias. This powder is made from the remains of fossilized algae and contains microscopic sharp edges that can pierce the exoskeletons of earwigs, causing them to dehydrate and die. Be sure to reapply after rain or watering.

5. Provide hiding spots: Earwigs are nocturnal insects that seek shelter during the day. By placing damp, rolled-up newspaper or cardboard tubes near your dahlias, you can create hiding spots for the earwigs. Check these hiding spots regularly and dispose of any earwigs you find.

6. Encourage natural predators: Earwigs have natural predators, such as birds, frogs, and predatory insects like ground beetles and centipedes. Creating a diverse and balanced garden ecosystem can help attract these beneficial creatures, which will help keep the earwig population in check.

Remember to monitor your dahlias regularly and take action as soon as you notice any earwig damage. By employing a combination of these methods, you can effectively treat and control earwigs on your dahlias.