Although the old Pogo comics line "We have met the enemy and he is us" also applies, because it would seem that my zealousness in weeding, combined with my lack of zealousness in carting all the deceased weeds off to a far corner of the yard away from the garden and patio, has resulted in some prime earwig habitat. And when I tried to shift the biggest weed-pile earlier this evening, there were so many of the damn things under it that I had to postpone this plan until after I could get some diatomaceous earth to surround it with first, so that they don't all run into the garden - or into my apartment.
It was actually incursions of the latter sort that led me to identify the culprit behind the recent damage to many of my plants. I looked up non-toxic methods of earwig control because of the ones turning up in my apartment, and happened to see that they are known to eat plants, that the damage they cause very much resembles that caused by caterpillars (which is what most people had thought it was from the pictures I posted on Facebook), and that their favourite plants to eat include... marigolds and hollyhocks! A-HA!
So, off I went to a nearby garden centre and got some diatomaceous earth, and would have gotten some Safer's insecticidal soap, but they were out of that. But - the nice fellow working there told me that you can get pretty much the same effect by mixing around 2 tablespoons of dish detergent with a litre of water in a spray bottle. So, that will be my next project. In the meantime, there is now a line of diatomaceous earth along the base of the patio doors where the earwigs come in, and a little more around the weed pile, and some around the base of each plant. Although the later is probably an exercise in futility given that it's supposed to rain for the next couple of days. Still, even if it just kills a few, it'll help some. And serves as notice that the all-you-can-eat garden smorgasbord is now closed!
Oh, also: carpenter bees infesting the roof of the patio. Joy. At least, according to what I've read, the ones that hover around looking menacing are all males, who can't sting. The females have stingers, but usually ignore people because they are hyperfocused on building nests and laying eggs, so if you don't look like a piece of wood, you don't exist to them. So I suppose it could be worse. Still, they are probably going to traumatize the Lynxcub, who is terrified of anything that buzzes...
And of course, even though I told myself before going to the garden centre that I was just going there for earwig remedies and NOT to buy more plants, given that they were having a storewide 30% off sale, you can imagine how long that resolution lasted (though really, to be honest, I didn't believe myself even when I told myself that in the first place). Six herb plants, and tentative plans to go back there on Thursday with my landlady who has a car, for more flowers.
PLANT ALL THE THINGS!