annafaie
Cool Member
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Richardson, TX

Earwigs in compost and garden - are they harmful to garden?

Good morning! I have a wonderful compost pile that is just finished breaking down so my husband and I sifted it yesteday to start using. Once again (this is my second pile to be ready and sifted for use) I saw a TON of these nasty looking bugs. Did some research this morning and discovered they are earwigs. So my question is...are they harmful to my garden. I know they are good in the compost (from what I've read) but once I sift there is no way to separate them out so they end up in my raised beds and planters. Will they hurt my herbs and veggies? So far I haven't seen any damamge from them that I can tell. Sure, some basil has holes and my brussels were demolished by cabbage worms...but overall I'm not seeing major damage to anything. Will they just leave the garden because they aren't in the ideal envornment of my compost pile anymore? When we were sifting them I noticed a BUNCH of them were climbing up the sides of the wheelbarrow and jumping ship.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!
Thanks! Anna

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

This is by no means an "official" response or endorsement of any technique, but...

I allow earwigs to remain in my compost while it's in the bin (BioStack Bin). But if they don't take the hint when I sift the compost, and scuttle back into the safety of the bin, well....

Let's just say that I do NOT allow earwigs near the vegetables/plants I'm trying to grow. My trowel is of great assistance in this endeavor. There are times when a gardener WANTS help in cutting leaves/plants apart, and times when s/he absolutely does NOT want that kind of "help." :wink:

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

annafaie
Cool Member
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Richardson, TX

I tried very hard to kill the ones I could but when I say we have TONS I mean TONS. I'm not sure I could have ever killed them all. Hundreds....

I saw these bugs in December-January when we sifted our first complete pile and I've seen no adverse damage. But I AM new to gardening and maybe I can't tell what damage they are doing??? Will they eat roots or vegetation? Will they eat my peppers, onions and tomatoes? What should I look for?

One additional note...I filled the beds in December-January with the compost and to date I rarely, if ever, see any in my garden. I see the infestation in my compost pile. Maybe they crawl back the compost bin? They were trying to get out of the wheelbarrow very, very quickly. I'm guessing b/c of the light and heat.
Thanks! Anna

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