First the spring rains brought the snails, which ultimately we were able to control with deadline. Then next came the earwigs, otherwise known as “pincer-bugs”. They were munching their way through our Swiss chard, flat-leaf parsley, and even the beet greens. They annually eat up our gardenias. The dilemma is that Earwigs are both beneficial and non-beneficial insects in the garden. They eat bugs as well as some garden vegetables. I’ve read they will help control scale on apple trees, but they are definitely not welcome around my chard and parsley!
An easy and mostly effective way to control them is to take empty tuna cans and fill them 1/2 inch up with vegetable oil. Place a dollop of bacon fat in the oil. Place the cans around the garden near the plants where the earwigs are doing the most harm. The earwigs will be attracted to the oil and crawl in, and drown in the oil. Empty and replace the oil and fat when the can fills up a bit. This method won’t kill all the earwigs, but will keep them in check.
Note that if you have neighborhood cats that occasionally roam by, you will want to run the empty tuna cans through the dishwasher first, to rid them of the cat-attracting tuna smell. When I started with the cans this season I was often surprised to find them licked clean of their oil the next morning (I’m sure some of those dead pincer bugs got gobbled up too, yech!)