Wednesday, March 12, 2014

eek! Earwigs

To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season and 
A purpose under heaven

To every garden, nibble, nibble, nibble,
There is a beastie and
a contest (organic) vying

Yes, every gardener has their own pests to challenge them.  To help keep their pride in check.  And somewhat like the raising of children, just when you think you have one dilemma figured out, a new struggle enters the scene, so too, it is with gardening.  Just when you have the slug problem under control, the earwigs enter stage left.

Gophers, deer, slugs, rats, bugs, beetles, skunks, mites, thrips, EARWIGS.
Creepy, pincer-tipped, swift moving, lettuce-potato-and kale eating earwigs are my current opponents.

How am I fighting for my leaves?  With newspaper, of course.  Rolled up newspaper.  But I don't use it to swat with, as when chasing a fly.  I place the loosely rolled tubes of newspaper on the ground among the delicious plants.  The earwigs think I have offered them snug housing and they hide out in the traps during the day.  I try to empty the traps each day.

Now fortunately for me, chickens look upon earwigs as tasty treats.  And by happy chance, I have 2 chickens.  When I arrive in the hen yard with a load of newspaper traps, Nellie and Amelia gather round.  One at a time, I unroll each temporary earwig apartment house.
The earwigs drop out of the sheets of newspaper and the chase is on.  Not a race between the earwigs and the hens...the earwigs don't have a's a competition between the girls.  Hens are very food driven.  And they have no manners when it comes to sharing.  They go crazy scurrying after the dashing insects, trying to catch more than their coop mate.  Sometimes Nellie pecks up more.  Sometimes Amelia is faster.
Watching the hens go after the earwigs is pure entertainment. The only thing funnier is when I catch and release, into the hen yard, a grasshopper.  
Go, Hens, Go!

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