My flowers are being munched. Again. Earwigs are the culprit, feasting on cosmos, calendula and violas. So I’ve been looking them up on the Garden Organic website. And it turns out that they also eat garden pests including aphids … I did ask for help in that department. And thinking about it, I haven’t noticed aphid infestations for a while now. Earwigs also provide a food source for toads, birds, and hedgehogs. And they are one of the few insects that demonstrate parental care, with the mother ‘taking great care of them’, feeding and protecting the small white nymphs from predators. The mother also eats mold off the eggs to prevent it from killing them. So I can’t bring myself to ‘control’ their numbers, even with pots of straw. I need to look at how many flowers there are remaining – if I let things be there might be enough for all of us.
Earwigs don’t seem to eat leguminous flowers – beans, sweet peas, birds foot trefoil, and nasturtium. So another response might be simply to grow more flowers that they don’t eat. From experience, this list also includes snapdragons, borage, chamomile, toadflax, and verbena bonariensis.
Garden Organic tells me that earwigs do most damage between June and October. So if I want my violas, I can try timing the seed sowing to plant out in October to flower over the winter – which is when I want them anyway, as they are one of the few flowers that do their stuff in the winter months.
So there are plenty of alternative responses to stamping on the wriggly little creatures. Meanwhile, here’s a cosmos that hasn’t been nibbled yet.