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How To Get Rid Of Earwigs In A Beehive Effectively

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Beekeepers are very concerned about the safety of their hives. There are so many pests & parasites that can cause harm to bees and beehives. 

Earwigs can be any of them. When you first noticed earwigs inside your beehive. So, your concern then is how to get rid of earwigs in your beehive.

2 questions might hit your mind immediately after identifying earwigs inside your beehives.

  1. Are earwigs harmful to bees?
  2. How to remove earwigs from a beehive?

Earwigs are not directly harmful to bees, but they can make a harmful impact inside a beehive. That’s why we are going to learn today about some remedies to get rid of earwigs from a hive.

 

 

 

Some Information About Earwigs

Earwigs belong to one of the smallest insect orders called Dermaptera. Their size is within the range of a few mm to up to 50 mm. They have distinctive pairs of tongs used for defense, hunting, and mating.

Earwigs
Earwigs

Don’t worry, earwigs don’t enter human ears to lay eggs or cause harm, despite their name.

Earwigs are omnivores, meaning they eat a variety of foods, including decaying plants, animal substances, other insects, and even their own eggs.

During confinement, they can eat plant materials like grass, leaves, and fresh vegetables. They can also digest small insects like crickets, and anything that can be caught by their pincers.

 

 

 

Are Earwigs Harmful To Bees?

So, are earwigs harmful to bees? While earwigs generally pose minimal risk, they can be harmful in large numbers within a beehive. As omnivores, they have the potential to consume honey and bee eggs, posing a threat to the hive’s productivity. Additionally, earwigs can damage brood cages, further impacting bee colony health and stability.

A few months ago, one day I discovered a few earwigs inside my beehive. From the internet, I learned that earwigs are not harmful to bees. Instead, they can eat varroa mites and help to protect bees from other diseases. That’s why I haven’t taken any steps to remove them.

That was really a big mistake. After a few days, I discovered the following.

  • My honey chamber was destroyed.
  • Some of my brood frames were damaged.
  • I have seen a large flow of honey through the brood cage. 

There is no problem inside the hive. Not even any bear attack or something else. So, the only possible way is the damage was done by the earwigs.

Later, I took the necessary steps. I successfully removed all the earwigs from my beehives without causing harm to my bees.

 

 

 

How To Remove Earwigs From A Beehive?

Removing earwigs from a beehive doesn’t require very much expertise. I have used my hive tools to successfully remove earwigs from inside the beehive. I searched inside my hive and squeezed each of the earwigs successfully using hive tools.

You can also do this. Just make sure you haven’t smashed any of your bees and carefully remove the earwigs from the hive after squeezing them.

Remember you shouldn’t approach hive inspection in bad situations. You should do this at a time that is suitable for hive inspection.

Earwigs can eat varroa mite but it doesn’t mean that they will surely protect your colony from varroa mite. Instead, they can also have a harmful impact on your bees. Earwigs can also carry diseases inside the hive. That’s why they should be removed from the beehive as soon as they are discovered.

Never try to use any chemicals inside your hive. Chemicals can cause harm to your bees. You can use essential oil with water inside the beehive. This will also help you to remove earwigs from your beehive.

If you are thinking of transferring all the bees from the current hive to a new beehive. You can also do this. But make sure the frames don’t have any earwigs on them.

You can also use sticky traps to catch earwigs. Place the trap at the entrance of the hive. It will help you to catch and remove earwigs from your hive.

 

 

How To Get Rid Of Earwigs In A Beehive Naturally?

Remember using any chemical substances inside a beehive can be very harmful to bees. That’s why you shouldn’t try any insecticides on your beehive to prevent pests and parasites.

You can try the following natural ways to get rid of earwigs naturally.

  1. Essential oil: Spray essential oil and water mixture around your beehive, garden, or the place where you want to prevent the existence of earwigs.
  2. Diatomaceous earth: You can also sprinkle some boric acid and diatomaceous earth around your beehive to keep earwigs away from the hive.
  3. Keep the hive dry: Earwigs like wetted places to live. That’s why you should try to keep the hive dry as possible.
  4. Clean debris: Remove any debris present outside the hive that might attract earwigs. You should also regularly clean your beekeeping gloves and tools that you use to inspect your hive.
  5. Squeeze and through them out of the hive: When you identify any earwigs inside the hive squeeze it using your hive tool. You can also try any other method but make sure you have removed the earwigs from the hive as soon as possible after you identified them.

Hopefully, if you can follow these instructions, you will be able to remove earwigs from your hive.

 

 

 

Ways To Keep Earwigs Away From Your Beehive

Prevention is always better than cure. Try to keep earwigs always far from the beehive. Don’t wait to take action against earwigs for entering the hive.

Before they enter your hive you should try to keep them away from the hive. You can try various methods to keep earwigs away from your beehive like the following.

  • Using essential oil: You can use peppermint, lemon, cinnamon, basil, lavender oil, or tea tree oil. Mix a few drops of oil with water and spray it around your beehives. It will effectively keep earwigs away from your beehive.
  • Clean Up Debris Regularly: You should clean debris and waste regularly to keep your bees protected from various diseases and earwigs as well.
  • Use Traps: You can make cardboard traps to attract earwigs. Place a rolled-up cardboard near your beehive. Earwigs will be attracted to the cardboard and will dig through it. You can catch earwigs and should remove them from the trap after every few days.
Essential Oil
Essential Oil

 

There are so many other ways to keep earwigs away from your beehives. But these are the absolute cheapest ways that I tried, and successfully protected my beehives from earwigs.

 

 

Keep Colony Strong

Now you may ask, what’s the easiest way to get rid of earwigs? Strengthening the colony is the most effective method. A robust hive discourages intruders, as the bees quickly identify and eliminate any unfamiliar presence. 

If you have a strong colony and very active workers they will be enough to protect their own colony. They will attack together and kill strangers like earwigs inside a beehive.

You can help the colony by spraying an essential oil and water mixture around the place where you don’t want the existence of earwigs.

So, just mix any essential oil like lavender or lemon oil with water and spray around your garden or beehives. This will effectively and easily keep earwigs away from your colony.

You should also pick the right spot to place your beehive to keep predators away. 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Does garlic helps to get rid of earwigs?

Though garlic has some insecticidal properties, there is no proof that garlic can help you to get rid of earwigs. Also, you shouldn’t use garlic inside a beehive. So, using garlic to get rid of earwigs probably won’t have any effective results.

Does vinegar get rid of Earwigs?

Yes, white vinegar can help you to get rid of earwigs. Earwigs do not like vinegar. So, you can spray white vinegar mixed with water around your beehives to get rid of earwigs.

Does baking soda keep earwigs away?

Baking soda and bleach are popularly used in the laundry for cleaning white clothes. Baking soda shows base properties and can be used to kill earwigs. You can mix baking soda with water and spray it around your beehives.

But don’t spray baking soda or bleach mixture inside your beehive. As a bleaching agent can cause harm to your bees.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Earwigs might not harm your bees but you shouldn’t welcome them in your hive. They can bring disease to your beehive as well as they can negatively affect the colony. That’s why you should try any of the above-discussed methods to get rid of earwigs in a beehive.

If you are still unable to get rid of earwigs in your beehive, hire a pest control professional to remove earwigs safely and effectively.

 

References And Helpful Links

  • Book on “Insect pests of honey bees and choosing of the right management strategic plan” by Muhammad Sarwar. Get the PDF version of the book.
  • A. Nelson, “The Effects of Imidacloprid and Atrazine on Nest Recognition in the Ring-legged Earwig, Euborellia annulipes.” Read here.
  • Discovering a lot of dead bees on the ground? Check this now.

 

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