Why choose this project?
As part of both the pest control and (probably) pollinator communities, earwigs are very valuable to garden ecosystems. They tend to suffer bad press due to their omnivory - they can nibble on soft plant parts, causing minor damage - but the biological control they provide by munching through aphids is much greater.
Earwigs could benefit from some wildlife gardening support. They are 'univoltine', meaning they only produce one generation a year, so are hit hard by harsh conditions or damaging events. Due to their historical reputation as pests, a lot of information about 'managing' garden earwigs is about their control. Traditional earwig traps take advantage of their tendency to seek out tight spaces to rest in during the day, and a similar method is used for catching earwigs for ecological sampling, using rolled up cardboard in trees.
Earwi'GO! uses these trapping techniques to make earwig housing instead!
How can I help?
Participants will need to make three hotels out of flower pots: 1) a hotel put at ground-level, with cardboard filling; 2) a hotel at ground level, with bamboo canes as filling; 3) a hotel up on a stick, with cardboard filling. You will then need to count the residents of the hotels fortnightly.
What do you get out of it?
By taking part in this project, you will be helping to conserve earwigs throughout the harsher climate that we are experiencing, and hopefully will aid in de-stigmatising them. At the same time, you will be increasing the ecological value of your garden, increasing your natural pest control and potentially increasing pollination.