These small pest insects feed inside flowers, buds and vegetables, causing holes in petals and leaves. They are small, narrow, brown insects with segmented bodies and pincers. They usually hide during the day and feed at night and are present in large numbers. They are particularly damaging to dahlias and many vegetables and are most active in warm weather.

Prevention is the best method by removing them when there are only a few, so check your plants every couple of days during these conditions.

Control options include trapping, for example, with a twist of newspaper inside an upturned pot. Check traps and squash insects each day. Pyrethrum sprays such as EarthCare Natural Pyrethrum insect spray can also be used as an environmentally friendly, low-toxic control. Earwigs are most active at night so try spraying in the early morning or late at night. Repeat spray weekly until the earwig population has been controlled, following the directions on the back of the pack. Take care that there are not any beneficial insects or bees around when spraying.

A healthy garden can also help prevent pest infestation. If your plants are strong and healthy, they may be able to handle and reduce the stress of pests and diseases. Applying Seasol regularly every two weeks during the year can help them to cope with environmental stress. Keeping plants fed with fertilisers such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives, better watering and appropriate light exposure can also help build tougher plants.

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