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I've planted a lot of seeds this year, (marigold, green beans, cornflower, poppy, sunflower, etc.) I started with 50+ green beans plants and now have 2 left, countless marigolds and now have 4 plants, half of my sunflowers were eaten, along with a lot of my other flower seedlings. I'm fairly certain that it's from all of the earwigs and sowbugs we have here.

My problem is, I have a hard time killing things. Is there some way to deter them from my garden without killing? Some essential oils or sprays? Also, I don't want to deter any bees, birds, or butterflies, since they are a big part of why I enjoy my gardens. Thank you so much for your reponses.

  • I have a fig tree near and a California Bay Laurel. – Kathleen Mary May 30 '17 at 18:13
  • Are you sure the damage is not being caused by snails or slugs? I used to think it was pill bugs but I finally figured out it was slugs. It is hard to find them but they are there and you can take them out one at a time. Other's have suggested using beer to kill them but that has not worked for me – JStorage May 30 '17 at 20:54
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Sowbugs or pillbugs don't eat live plants, they eat dead material, so it won't be those. Earwigs do sometimes eat living plant material, but they are omnivores and also prey on small insects like aphids. However, if you have a lot of them, then they can be damaging to plants. They operate at night, preferring to hide in cracks and crevices during the day - methods to control them include using something like a pot filled with straw or shredded paper, either upended on a stick in the air or just laid about in various places. The earwigs use them during the day as somewhere to hide, so every day, you're supposed to empty the pots and their contents out and kill the earwigs in whatever way you choose. If you have trouble killing things, unless you're prepared to drive them some distance away and leave them elsewhere, there's not much to be done, other than keeping your garden really clean, not leaving debris around, sweeping out crevices and cracks to make fewer places for them to hide.

General information about earwigs here https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwig

  • It's possible that it's snails eating the green beans. We have so many of them. I say earwigs for the tiny seedlings in the containers because when I flip the light switch on in the middle of the night, I see dozens of them scurrying in and on the container. – Kathleen Mary Jun 2 '17 at 12:59

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