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Earwigs are insects which measure 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length. They are typically light to dark brown in color. Perhaps the easiest way to recognize them is the pair of large, curved pincers on their tails. Earwigs feed mostly by night. During daylight hours, you may find them hunkered beneath a pot or taking shelter among the leaf and flower debris that has dropped onto the soil. For the most part, Earwigs are considered scavengers. However, they sometimes do feed on the flowers and leaves of African Violets.

Distinguishing Symptoms

If your African Violet has these symptoms, it is probably being attacked by Earwigs.

Other Symptoms


As an alternative to chemical treatments, try packing a pot with loose straw. Turn the pot upside-down on a stick, and place it among your Violets. This produces a trap where Earwigs will take shelter during the day. Be sure to destroy the contents of the trap, each day.

Another trap consists of placing a tuna can into a shallow pot or saucer. Fill the pot or saucer with potting soil up to the rim of the can. Inside the can, put a heaping tablespoon of bread crumbs and add about 1/2 inch of cooking oil. Place the pot or saucer among your African Violets. This is said to lure Earwigs away from your Violets and into the can. Once inside the can, they become coated in the oil, rendering them incapable of escaping.

For heavy infestations, spray with Diazinon (as directed on the label).


Keep soil surface clean of leaf and flower debris.

Important Note on the Use of Pesticides

Please note that almost all pesticides are formulated for specific uses and conditions. When applied incorrectly, pesticides can cause ill health or damage to plants. Therefore, when using any kind of pesticide or chemical treatment, always apply as indicated on the product label.

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