Saturday, July 25, 2009

New home has unexpected residents.

Everything is going well with the house, the move went as well as moves can and we are desperately trying to settle in, in between work and the other details in life. But the REAL thing I want to blog about is my new second job. That's right, on top of my already well-paying and reasonably fulfilling (on most days) career, I now have a new (pre) occupation. I am an EARWIG DESTROYER.

For those who don't know what earwigs are, first I am sticking my tongue out at you because I am very jealous. They are the one creepy-crawly that I just CANNOT reconcile myself with. I have come to terms with spiders and even centipedes. But earwigs...oh, no. Not ever. Where was I? Oh yes, the earwig.

This is, admittedly, a rather nice photo. It almost makes me appreciate the structure of this bug. Almost. Photo is courtesy of What's that Bug, an amazing website that helps identify bugs for people. This site has helped me get over many fears/phobias through learning to appreciate the insect. Definitely one of my top 10.

The pinch delivered by the an earwig is not very painful, it's apparently less annoying than a mosquito bite. My main problem with them is that they tend to "gather" in large clusters. Your garden hose will be full of them every day. Your plants - flowers, vegetables, herbs - will be eaten completely in a few nights. They drop from doorways when you open the door. They hide in shoes. One even joined me for breakfast this morning. Ugh.

My new house? I love it. But the sellers clearly weren't here much the last while and the earwigs have taken over. I almost had a panic attack the second night here when I had dealt with many, many earwigs; including a laundry basket with every article of clothing having 1-2 earwigs shake out and another almost drop on my head. My wonderful hubby spent some time the next day poking around the foundation outside, finding all the earwig nests. We both do not like chemicals or poison and, years ago, I used to pour boiling water everywhere there was a nest or earwigs gathered. So, Sasha boiled kettle after kettle while I was at work to eliminate my nemesis. Talk about knight in shining armour, lol.

I also picked up some traps from Lee Valley. You basically add water to drown them, oil to trap them, dish soap to break surface tension, and an attractant. In an attempt to make this remotely tolerable, I decided to make it an experiment to appeal to the researcher in me. So, I varied the attractant for each trap.

It is recommended to use fish oil, but I have none. So, I chose things I had on hand. We had lamb for dinner, so I included a piece of lamb fat. Don't worry, "dog" and "cat" do not contain pieces of my furry friends! "Dog" contains some wet dog food and "cat" contains a cat treat with fish and fish oil in them. Yum. I also used a piece of mango, for something sweet, and fish sauce, for something extra fishy.

Setting traps in creepy dark places.
The pink underwear are part of the dress code
and the plumber's butt is just part of the
culture among us earwig destroyers ;)
The next morning we went out and...nothing! Not a single earwig perished in my traps. I think my experiments failed. BUT, I think I had a confound I didn't consider. My dish soap is naturally grapefruit scented and I suspect that they were deterred by the citrus.

So, the next night I scrapped the experiment, bought cod liver oil and used unscented soap. The result?? A total of FIVE in one trap, whoo hoo! Ok, I was seriously hoping for a better haul. I tell myself it's because they are mostly gone now. It could happen, right? Anyway, I poured more boiling water in that area, so hopefully we have eliminated the major nests near the house.

I'm enjoying home ownership, really. Stay tuned to discover if I break down and use something toxic to rid my life of gross brown crawlies!

Hey, at least it's not mice, right?

1 comment:

HorseOfCourse said...

Mice would be worse.
Or other insects that destroys the house or your things.
But when that is said, I understand you have been invaded, lol!
I have never heard of such large amounts of them (thanks for the pic and the link by the way).
I remember that in one place where we lived when I was a child, they stayed in the postbox. So it was always a bit scary to go and collect the post...
Good luck with your warfare!