Found these insects all over my cauliflowers hiding under the covers I'm using to blanch the heads.

I suspect it's an earwig. Solutions for control?

And yes, I have a bad case of pieris rapae ... bought some bt today.


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    Stormy's id is correct, but before you start wielding the big guns against them, remember that they are omnivores: The little bugger might well be in search of the pieris rapae eggs. The question whether they are friend or foe is somewhat unclear. European organic gardeners tend to appreciate that they hunt aphids and we even put up "nests" for them, while in the US (new immigrant there), the damage aspect seems to be more important. In commercial farming, they can be a problem, if they appear en masse. In short, if you have but a few, no need to worry. – Stephie Dec 24 '17 at 9:06
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    Yes, I read that they can eat other insects so I'm just going to watch. But they leave their poop all over the cauliflower heads. – Graham Chiu Dec 24 '17 at 19:31
  • Easily washed off. Wrapping the heads can be done using just the leaves. I would think hosing the heads off vigorously then using row cloth and firmly tying to the stalk would keep earwigs out. It is only a matter of time that head should be eaten, right? You'd have to tie it tightly to keep earwigs out. Earwigs are usually more of an aesthetic problem not harmful. If you get rid of their protective homes combine that with covering the heads with row cloth and you should be good. I have seen earwigs out of control and a big problem. They had a 5 star hotel/restaurant a few feet away... – stormy Dec 25 '17 at 6:19

Earwig it is! The most important way to control ear wigs is to get rid of the 'housing' the cover they like the most. Rocks, old lumber, compost piles that don't get turned. I don't think they will bother the heads of your cauliflower, they love the juicy leaves.

I would clean up the organic debris around your garden. Earwigs will 'wig' out with no 'home' to run to and might possibly eat the cauliflower heads. I'd still clean up, get your heads harvested and eat them or preserve them.

Next year, plant your brassicas (broccoli, kale, cauliflower...) in a bed that has not had this family grown in it for at least 2 years. Clean up or move compost piles, rocks, old lumber, old construction debris, piles of leaves get them away from your vegetable garden. Remove their homes and protection you will get rid of earwigs.

I have to ask, what is that fibrous piece on the left side of this picture? Is that a coco mat? This is what those earwigs are loving. Remove that for sure, put in a plastic bag to dispose of. Probably full of earwig eggs.

Earwigs are easy to control. You do not need to ever use pesticide as they are not a big problem. Pesticide use would be worse. Clean up the debris, remove rocks and lumber and plastic they love to live under...next year you should have very few if any.

  • The fluffy bit? Could also be Graham's woolen jumper? – Stephie Dec 24 '17 at 9:00
  • Stephie, you are a bad bad girl! I am in stitches!! – stormy Dec 24 '17 at 10:07
  • It is wool! I was using it to cover the heads since the caterpillars had eaten most of the greenery I couldn't pull that over the heads :( – Graham Chiu Dec 24 '17 at 19:29
  • What a sweet dude, Graham! I bet your cauliflower feels lucky to have you for their daddy! How did Stephie know? – stormy Dec 25 '17 at 6:21
  • Well they're heads so normally you cover a head with a woolen cap! – Graham Chiu Dec 25 '17 at 7:47

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