Although earwigs are sometimes looked upon as beneficial insects, when you find them in your daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) stems they are considered pests. Attacking daylilies and other flowers, including zinnias (Zinnia spp.) and dahlias (Dahlia spp.), earwigs hide during the day and feed at night. If one of those hiding spaces is your daylily stems, manage the problem immediately to protect your garden.
Proper care makes your daylilies healthy plants prepared to fight off and recover from pests, such as earwigs. Daylily plants thrive in areas that offer full sun to partial shade. For successful development, maintain moist, well-draining, loamy soil with a slightly acid pH level and a substantial amount of organic content. Daylilies perform best when planted in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10.
Earwigs are easy to identify. These pests are a red-brown hue with bodies measuring approximately 3/4 inch in length. In addition, earwigs display trademark forceps, or pincers, on the back tip of their bodies. These pests disappear during daylight hours, when they look for cool, dark, moist places to hide. At night, they emerge and feed on plants, such as flowers and soft fruit, as well as decaying organic matter. They also eat other insects, including aphids, which is why they are sometimes considered beneficial.
Earwigs feeding on your daylily flowers may lead to extensive damage. Considered "voracious feeders," according to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, earwigs are chewing bugs that eat plant tissue. Your daylilies will likely end up with damage to flower petals and foliage, including tattered edges, holes and chewed stems. Earwigs' fast eating and resulting severe damage can cause devastation in your landscape, particularly if you garden with a variety of plants they enjoy, such as zinnias and dahlias, which thrive in all U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones.
Management begins with a clean gardening space when controlling earwigs. Clean and destroy plant debris, and keep your space free of mulch, when possible, to deter earwigs. In addition, monitor plants regularly and control other insect infestations to avoid providing earwigs with additional food.
For existing earwigs, scatter traps throughout your garden. Create traps by adding 1/2 inch of oil to short tin cans and pressing them into the ground, suggests the UC IPM. You can empty the traps and add fresh oil as they collect earwigs. Because these pests may benefit your garden by feeding on other pests, keeping them away from your desired plants without treating them chemically is a sound management method.
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension: Hemerocallis Spp.
- University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Daylilies
- Illinois Central College Faculty: Earwigs
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Earwigs
- Illinois Natural History Survey Prairie Research Institute: European Earwig
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension: Zinnia Spp. -- Zinnia
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension: Dahlia Spp. -- Dahlia
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