Insects can be very annoying in everyday life. However, for the garden they are an asset, because they drive away many enemies of flowers and plants. With an insect hotel you can offer the useful insects a nice home and a wonderful place to overwinter. For example, a hotel or house made from a clay pot is the ideal living space for earwigs and lacewings.
Why the earwig is useful in the garden
The earwig and also the lacewing are useful insects because they keep the garden and plants clean. For example, earwigs love aphids, which is why they are their main food source. So if you have a problem with aphids, earwigs can be the ideal helper. It then makes sense to place the earwig house right next to the plants that are most affected. After just a short time, you will see a significant improvement in the problem.
Craft an earwig house yourself
You will need these materials
To make a home for earwigs, you do not need a lot of accessories. Since earwigs are already satisfied with some straw and a rainproof shelter, the earwig house is built very quickly. For this you will need:
- a large clay pot
- garden shears
- rope or thick string
- netting or chicken wire
- straw, dry hay or wood shavings/ wood wool
You can decide for yourself how big you want the clay pot to be. Small or big, is up to you. The earwig houses can then act as garden decorations at the same time.
Step by step guide – building an earwig hotel
Before you start the actual construction, you should see if the clay pot is clean. If it is used, you need to clean it thoroughly first.
Now you can embellish the earwig house with waterproof paints. There are no limits to your imagination. But you don’t necessarily have to paint the clay pot, because earwigs don’t care what the appearance of their home looks like. However, always make sure that the colors are waterproof, because otherwise they are gone after the first rain. Allow the clay pot to dry well afterwards.
Now you need to clarify whether the clay pot should stand on the ground in the future or hang on a tree. If you would like to hang the earwig house, the rope is now used. You need to thread this through the hole at the bottom and knot it well inside so that the string can be used as a support. At the other end of the string you can then form a large loop or tie the insect hotel directly to a tree. If you would like to store the clay pot on the ground, no string is needed. Another option for this is that a short piece of branch is attached to one end of the rope, and the other end is threaded through the hole.
Now fill the clay pot with straw, dry hay or wood wool. Here you can already use a little more. The clay pot may be well filled so that little or no straw falls out when you turn the clay pot over. You can trim the straw with garden shears and then stuff it into the pot.
Now the netting comes into play. In order for the straw to hold well and not fall out, you need to stretch it over the opening of the clay pot. This will help the earwigs slip into their new home more easily. Stretch the netting tightly over the opening and knot it on one side, so it won’t come off. In general, the material which you put inside is stuffed tight, so it will not fall out. So this step is optional.
Now the earwig house is ready. Now you can place it on the ground with the opening facing down or hang it in a tree. It won’t take long for the little insects to find their way to their new home.
How to hang the earwig house correctly?
The clay pots filled with wood wool are hung upside down. They should be placed in a shady spot and, if possible, in contact with the tree trunk or a branch – this gives the earwigs direct access from their nesting aid to the prey on the woody plant. Be careful: earwigs are omnivores. To prevent them from eating the eggs and larvae or the pollen supply of wild bees, do not place them near bee houses or other insect hotels.
What does an earwig eat?
Although the earwig feeds mainly on aphids, mites and their eggs, during dry periods it also likes to feed on the leaves and fruits of plums, peaches and grapes. It even nibbles the flowers of some ornamental plants such as chrysanthemums, zinnias and dahlias. Although the feeding damage is rather insignificant compared to the insect’s benefit, earwig hotels should be removed from the vicinity of ripe fruit in good time during prolonged sunny weather.
Do earwigs crawl into ears?
Earwigs do not crawl into ears to maltreat humans with their pincers. But the legend persists, and it is certainly one reason why the sight of a ladybug gives most gardeners more pleasure than that of an earwig.