I discovered recently that my failed marigolds died as a result of either an invasion of slugs, earwigs, or both. In all likelihood, it was both. As such, it’s time to figure out how to get rid of them.
Slugs are pretty much a world-wide problem and can be found in any garden. They come in a variety of sizes from the super massive to the super small depending on where you live. They tend to live in the rotting areas of your garden (mulch is a good spot) and like the moisture. Basically, by doing everything right with your garden, you are probably creating prime living conditions. You can tell that you have slugs by looking for the slime trail. Remember, the smaller the slug, the harder that trail is to see.
To get rid of slugs, I’d recommend using a slug bait. Just follow the directions on the box. You could also salt your entire lawn and garden, but then you’d be staring at dirt since everything would die.
Earwigs are basically like slugs as far as what they like goes. Earwigs can be extremely harmful to certain plants, but can also be wonderful pollinators if given the chance. The “ew” factor probably erases any chance of you ever inviting them over (at least it does in my opinion). Earwigs come from itty bitty to just under a few inches. Fortunately, the idea that earwigs hatch eggs in your ears is just a myth. Earwigs are also best friends with marigolds and will eat through a marigold like Uncle Ted eating through dinner at Thanksgiving. Interesting fact: Earwigs will not infest an indoor plant. Don’t ask me why; I have no idea. That’s just one of the little interesting things I read when learning how to get rid of them.
Earwigs are a touch harder to get rid of. Eggs are placed in the ground, they hatch during the late winter/early spring, and then they live and thrive all summer long. In general, they aren’t really pests, but they do love new grass shoots. I have one small patch of lawn that I have been trying to recoup for a year now, and I think we are having so much trouble because of earwigs. You can try pesticides, but earwigs will often stay deep where the pesticides won’t harm them. I’ve heard that rolling up a wet newspaper and laying it near a problem area will help. Apparently the earwigs infest the newspaper which you can then either throw away or shake out. I’ve also heard that earwigs have a strong love for vegetable oil. One site I read suggested placing a pie tin in your lawn buried up to the lip of the tin and then filling the inside of the tin with vegetable oil. The earwigs come in for a swim and don’t come out.
As for me, the “ew” factor on both the pie tin full of dead earwigs and the newspaper full of living ones is enough that I would shoot for a more satisfactory solution: Billy Bob’s Extermination Services. Yep… I’ll let Billy Bob handle the earwigs.