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Free earwigs and earwig training, Wenatchee, Yakima, Hood River, and Whatcom, 2024

Written by Robert Orpet, Washington State University, June 3, 2024

A healthy population of earwigs can help with biocontrol of difficult pests like woolly apple aphid and pear psylla. Free earwigs for apple and pear orchards will be distributed at workshops in July. The workshops will also provide knowledge to use rolls of cardboard for your own mass-collections of earwigs for transportation (Fig. 1).

earwigs on a corrugated tray
Figure 1. Earwigs readily aggregate in corrugated cardboard to hide during day.

Please provide your e-mail using this web form if you would like to attend one of the workshops in Table 1. An RSVP is required so we can plan ahead with materials and update you on the specific locations.

Table 1. Locations, dates, and times for workshops in 2024.

Region Location Date and Time
Whatcom Cloud Mountain Farm near Everson, WA Sunday June 23, morning
Yakima USDA Research Farm in Wapato Thursday July 18, 10–11AM
Wenatchee WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center Thursday July 25, 10–11AM
Hood River OSU Mid-Columbia Research & Extension Center Thursday Aug 01, 10–11AM

More information about earwigs

Are earwigs pests?

Earwigs are omnivores that can damage stone fruits like peaches, but earwigs are not a significant apple or pear pest. Earwigs mainly only chew on apples or pears where they have been already damaged by mechanical injury or splitting.

Do spray programs affect earwigs?

During previous research projects, earwigs were not detected in many conventional pear orchards in the Wenatchee Valley and some apple orchards in the Columbia Basin. Some common pesticides are implicated in explaining this. Pear orchards following WSU’s phenology model guidelines can conserve earwigs.

Why transport earwigs?

Earwigs are not highly dispersive, so the idea of earwig transportation is to inoculate orchards early during transition to organic or softer integrated pesticide regimes. Earwig inoculation can help establish this biocontrol agent earlier and boost biocontrol earlier than they would naturally be able to disperse and grow a considerable population.


Robert Orpet professional photo
Dr. Robert Orpet
Washington State University

Funding and acknowledgements

sustainable agriculture research and education logo, green stripes representing fields and a yellow sun

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number  WRGR23-004 through the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Additional information

Fruit Matters articles may only be republished with prior author permission © Washington State University. Reprint articles with permission must include: Originally published by Washington State Tree Fruit Extension Fruit Matters at and a link to the original article.

Use pesticides with care. Apply them only to plants, animals, or sites listed on the labels. When mixing and applying pesticides, follow all label precautions to protect yourself and others around you. It is a violation of the law to disregard label directions. If pesticides are spilled on skin or clothing, remove clothing and wash skin thoroughly. Store pesticides in their original containers and keep them out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock.

YOU ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO FOLLOW THE LABEL. It is a legal document. Always read the label before using any pesticide. You, the grower, are responsible for safe pesticide use. Trade (brand) names are provided for your reference only. No discrimination is intended, and other pesticides with the same active ingredient may be suitable. No endorsement is implied.

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