Our main arsenal was to locate the nests around the foundation and pour boiling water on them. That worked well enough that I was no longer finding as many in the house. It rained a LOT last summer and the yard was still quite a jungle, so I really didn't spend much time out back, especially in the evening or at night. That was probably a very good thing for my sanity.
Naturally, earwigs thrive in moist environments. This, I believe, contributed to the abundance of them this year. I've also been out there a lot more, attempting to tend to (read: save) the vegetables, so I see them more. Also, I often don't have time to get back there until late evening, just when they are becoming active. Either way, there are a LOT of earwigs around here.
We did the same boiling water procedure this year, only we had the advantage of doing it in the spring while they were still immature. I really can't imagine what it would be like without doing this because you literally kill hundreds at a time. I do use soap and water which is mostly effective at killing them on direct contact and does little to protect plants directly. So I focus my efforts on areas they collect, such as the corners of my raised beds.
When I built the beds, I didn't worry about them being perfect. This was a mistake! They are good and solid but there are some corners that have small spaces between the boards where they aren't quite square. I didn't even consider it at the time but these are spaces that the earwigs LOVE. Bah! In my defense, I don't think they could be perfect enough, especially once the boards weather a little.
I have lost all of my Swiss chard, beautiful rainbows of completely eaten leaves, they are. And there is no longer any hope of eating my beet tops. The cucumbers, a small pickle-like variety that are also tasty for eating raw, are the most recent hosts. Some of the leaves curl, especially as they work their way through the chicken wire they were meant to climb. These are earwig hotels. Room service at it's finest. Eat, sleep, and s**! all in one place.
The one other successful method I use, one that my sister discovered, is quite simple. Fill a container with water, oil and soap. This is certainly a familiar recipe to me but I had tried to use it in little traps with minimal success. My sister told me she had great success with open containers and using more oil than we had in the past. I used ice-cream tubs from a local shop that we had been saving for "something". A couple inches of water and a few good glugs of any cheap vegetable oil on hand - I really only use olive and grapeseed oil in cooking, but I happened to have some corn oil around, so I used that. Also a touch of dish soap, to break the surface tension. Just don't use anything citrus, like I did last year. Original palmolive seems to work best.
Are you ready for the results??
I mean really, really ready?
Oh, for the love of pesticides!
I have a hard time determining numbers from just eyeballing it, so I decided to count them out, roughly.
I'm not sure how well this will show up, but I counted 115! Bottom right corner is where it ends. I suspect this is an under-estimation because some are on top of others.
I have to admit, sometimes it's a good thing that you can't buy pesticides in my province any more. Some days, I think I would break down and get some earwig pellets, if I could. I would never use a broad spectrum spray - I've worked hard to keep bees in my garden all season, I'm not about to kill them. But targeted pellets....well, I could make a case for them when I'm most desperate.
Instead, I will keep trying to fight the good fight. But if I occasionally wish for total earwig annihilation, you'll understand, right?