Lots of earwigs in the roses - what r they doing?

eaj09(8b Coastal VA)May 10, 2008

I noticed a LOT of these guys in my roses, esp. in the evening. They congregate all over the centers of the flowers. What are they doing? I've been leaving them alone b/c it does not appear they're eating the rose petals. There are so many of them if they were eating my rose petals I wouldn't have any. Whenever I cut my flowers I end up carrying these guys in as well.

Anyone know what their gig is?

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rosetom(7 Atl)

Most of the time, they're harmless, I think - even serving as a predator for bad bugs. If you have so many of them that they're congregating in the flowers, though - it could be a problem. Cross your fingers that they're eating all the thrips - wish mine were. :(

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 6:57PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Earwigs will eat vegetation, both live and decaying.
I have seen damage, where they were found, which appeared to be caused by the earwig. Eating petals.
They are omniverous, and I believe will eat some insects, as well as vegetation.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 7:08PM
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rosesnpots(z8 Tidewater area VA)


Hi, I have not seen amy earwigs on my roses but I did notice you are in coastal VA. As you can see so am I. Maybe we can stay in touch as our area can posess some uniques problems.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 7:44PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I've witnessed earwigs eating the petals off some yellow flowers in the past so I'd imagine they might eat rose petals too. If you haven't seen damage then maybe rose petals are not their favorite food.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 9:22PM
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donnaz5(Z5 NY)

I was told years ago that they congregte where there is moisture, so to get rid of them roll up a newspaper and soak it in water, lay it on the ground and they go in it at night, then in the morning you just pick up the newspaper and do whatever you want with it. i think they're probably congregating in your rose blossoms because the dew collects in there at night. they're creepy, but they won't hurt you, and as long as they're not munching on your petals, they must be munching on insects..so they may be a good thing? ick! donna

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 9:32PM
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Yes, they hang out in damp crevices.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 10:05PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

They're hiding. The don't like the sun and will stay in the folds of flowers or in your mulch or under fallen wet leaves during the day. Usually they're harmless but will eat vegetation if hungry. If there's plenty of compost or mulch they'll leave the flowers alone. Lots can be found in compost piles.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:36AM
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decobug(z6a Idaho SW)

I lay traps at the bottoms of my bushes. A tuna fish can filled with vegetable oil and a dash of soy sauce. In a week the can will be full with 100 earwigs and need to be replaced...

Earwigs number one enemy is light. They scurry and scatter any where they can so that they are not seen. They are similar to roaches in that way. They used to terrify me but now I just flick them away.

I noticed them in the flower petals during the hottest part of the summer late at night when I went trooping out into the garden with my flashlight to see who was making holes in my petals... Sure enough it was the earwigs...

During the infestation there were more than I have ever seen. Summer came sooner and we were in a drought type condition. This year has been cooler so far with lots of snow, so I'm hoping there will be less earwigs and less traps to be laid out... The traps must be put in a dark low place to work...

Just like a wet newspaper on the ground under a rose bush would work good, they would scatter into that quicker than a flashlight could trail them into it...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:26AM
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jbcarr(7 VA)

They will eat your roses.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:47AM
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diggerdave(Montana 4/5)

They munch on rose blooms here. Haven't found evidence they eat foliage. Earwigs here like clematis blooms even more than they like roses. Won't say what I think when I read that earwigs only hide in blooms and don't damage them.

Jean, we tried the traps when you mentioned it a few years ago. Traps filled with ants so fast there was only room for a few earwigs.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 9:16AM
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I've have a problem with earwigs here. They eat the blooms AND the leaves.

Here is what Environment Canada has to say about getting rid of them.....

Earwigs like dark, humid places. They are easy to trap. Place some short lengths of garden hose or rolled-up newspaper near your house and fill them with peanut butter, fish oil or vegetable oil. The insects will crawl inside. Earwigs can also be trapped in an inverted flowerpot stuffed with newspaper or peat moss and placed in a tree. A small can filled with bacon or hamburger fat will lure them as well. The morning after you set your traps, shake the captured earwigs into some hot water to kill them. If you find the earwigs' "nest", sprinkle diatomaceous earth or soap onto it."

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 7:09PM
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decobug(z6a Idaho SW)

Ants? that's funny... don't really have ants here so didn't realize the traps would have that effect... When I find an ant colony I usually wipe em out with permethrin dust. I hate ants with a passion...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 3:59AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Will someone please describe the look of these. I have elongated small bugs with a redish-orange portion on them. They are hiding in the roses too. I want to know if they're eating something!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 7:36AM
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eaj09(8b Coastal VA)

Thanks for all the responses. I've discovered they are indeed eating the rose petals, too, after further study. I'll try the traps.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:19PM
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