Sunday, July 11, 2010

Toads, Earwigs, Are Everywhere In North Minneapolis This Year!

Photo, blog post by John Hoff

Observant Northside neighbors report baby toads and earwig insects are especially numerous in North Minneapolis this year. Right now the baby toads are small enough to fit comfortably on top of a dime. One neighbor found about a dozen of the little toads in a relatively small patch of her flower garden while putzing around. She caught all the toads in a bucket and let them go closer to the Jordan Pond. In the photo above, I caught two little toads in a patch of grass no bigger than a love seat, escaping just ahead of a lawn mower. It's easy to extrapolate and realize these little toads are EVERYWHERE, but as for what accounts for their numbers, who can say?

In regard to earwig insects...

...these creepy looking little monsters are also especially numerous this year, and seem to love moist areas. For example, if you leave a pop can on the ground, in a day or two you can come back and find a dozen earwigs inside.

I hope the little toads hurry up and grow, so they can eat the earwigs.


Homewood Confidential said...

Funny you should post this today. I've been sitting here running Google searches about earwigs after seeing an absolute bumper crop of them all over my yard. Those little bastards are decimating my shasta daisies, dahlias, hostas, and I suspect they're involved in damage to my gladiolus beds, too. The style of the chewing on the glads is significantly different, though, so that might be some other pest.

This is all new to me. What does everyone else do to control earwigs?

Anonymous said...

We've got an infestation of earwigs in south Minneapolis too! Way gross.

Anonymous said...

I think it's because many horny toads have been getting out of jail increasing the birth rate.

geektopia's keeper said...

Earwigs and I have been waging war all summer. They are even eating my hot peppers, which most insects avoid. Let me tell you what I have come across in my search for weapons of mass destruction that are also pet and organic garden friendly. Dish soap is the answer and also beer. Earwigs are a soft body insect that sort of breathes through its skin. Dish soap contains fatty acids of potassium salts (most liquid soaps do).This coats their skin and basically suffocates them. It has to come into direct contact with the insect. Spraying a plant and hoping they eat it doesn't work. So here is what you need- a spray bottle(24 oz is a good size)and about a teaspoon and a half of dish soap. Mix together and spray the little buggers. They should keel over pretty quickly. Mid afternoon and just before dark are good times to go on safari. In the day look under flowers (daisy and dahlias are favorites), in between petals, and any nook on your plants. They like it dark and cool. The base of a hosta is an especially great place for them to stay out of the sun. At dark the come out to feed. They will start to swarm over the tasty parts of your flowers and veggies. This recipe is a small enough soap quantity that it does not harm your garden or the environment. If you have any liatris, gayfether or viper's bugloss they love to hang out on the flowering parts of those plants too.
And now to the beer. You can set traps at night with a mix of beer and vegetable oil. Any small cat food can sized vessel will work. Push it into the ground so it is sticking up about about an inch and pour your beer and oil in and wait until morning. This will also attract slugs, they LOVE beer. I was surprised how many slugs I have gotten in my traps. I hope this helps others that are waging this battle in their own yards.

Kevin said...

On the topic of insects:
The last couple of years I've noticed an explosion in the number of butterflies I see in my garden. Not only in the numbers of butterflies, but in the number of species of butterflies. The only thing I can figure out since worldwide butterflies are on the decline, is the number of vacant properties and vacant lots we now have. All those weeds and tall grasses growing on these properties are often the food sources for the caterpillars. More food - more caterpillars - more butterflies.

I've been enjoying it.

NoMi Passenger said...

OK, so I have a major hole problem in my hostas and even some of my annual flowers that I plant in containers.

And I have a major earwig problem.

But I never connected the two, do you really think one is responsible for the other?

Anonymous said...

I'm in NE and I can confirm the earwigs are out of control here too. Thanks geektopia for the action plan.

geektopia's keeper said...

Nomi Passenger-Yes. the holes sre from the earwigs and possibly slugs. they are out of control this year as well as the earwigs. If you have major earwigs they are eating your plants. They like the tasty flowery annuals A LOT. Try the traps I suggested at the base of your hostas and see what crawls in overnight. The earwigs are fond of soy sauce too, so if you don't want to waste good beer on them try soy sauce instead.

emma. said...

wow geektopia, thanks for the tips! our backyard is overrun by earwigs as it seems everyone else is experiencing as well. while i see so many in my garden i never really thought to blame them for the holes in my leafy stuff.

thus far i've succeeded in disturbing them and then squishing them. i've also screamed at a few found in our house. maybe i'll try the soap thing. :)

i've had an intense dislike for them since i was a child. a friend's dad got pinched by an earwig on his back in just the right location to cause a temporary paralysis. of course this was mostly harmless and short lived but our young minds turned earwigs into the worst creatures ever encountered. them and their ugly cousins silverfish. ick.

geektopia's keeper said...

In a normal year earwigs are benificial. They usually feed on the decomposting plant materials at the base of the garden and don't cause the wide sread devestation that we are seeing this year. But due to the early warm spring and wetter conditions they have been breeding ferociously, causing a lot of competition for food, thus leading to the munching on our gardens.
Thankfully this is an annual problem. Once the cold hits, the colonies will be wiped out save for the few that make it into foundations and garages.

Patrick said...

Thanks to JNS they had a story on Earwigs on KARE 11 today during the news. Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention.

Fuck Patrick said...

I vote Patrick off our island.
I'm tired of reading his posts.
I cannot recall seeing one post by Patrick that made me think, laugh, or cum.
Patrick... You're outta here!