The best way to deal with earwig infestation in your garden

Earwigs aren’t dangerous. At least not to humans but they can be to a wide variety of plants, fruits, and leaves. Many gardeners introduce the insects into their gardens accidentally. They prefer to eat decaying plant matter and wood but won’t hesitate to also attack living plants, such as decorative plants, ornamental trees, and vegetables if given the chance.

Earwigs do consume the leaves and fruits of a wide variety of plants, but they also eat little soft-bodied insects and can be useful

The earwig ick

Earwigs do appear menacing, somewhat like scorpions and for this reason, many people tend to be freaked out by them unnecessarily, especially when seen indoors. You shouldn’t be alarmed when you see one. The pincers on their back ends are not for piercing human ears or feasting on the brain as the myth suggests.

They are actually used for mating and defending against their predators. Also, earwigs will rather stay outdoors on the lawn but if they ever have to venture inside, they would prefer the basement to your bedroom.

What do earwigs do

Like every other living organism, they’re here to feed. They gnaw on the buds, leaves, flowers, and fruits of numerous plants, including ornamental trees and canes bearing decorative fruits and vegetables. They frequently eat small, ragged holes in plant tissue.

Earwigs will consume maize silks and conceal themselves inside ripe peaches and apricots close to the pit. They are omnivorous, though, and will also consume pollen and decaying waste. They also act as opportunistic predators of other insects.


How do I tell if it’s an earwig infestation?


Earwigs are distinguished by their long, dark red bodies, yellow legs, and what seems to be a formidable pincer just at the end of the abdomen. They are ruddy-brown insects with what appear to be forcep-like appendages on their tails. The earwig is one of the few insects with a pair of terrifying-looking pincers. Because of this, some people refer to them as “pinching bugs” or “pincher bugs.” These appendages are known as cerci, and they are attached to the insect’s abdomen.

Although they have yellow wings, they rarely use them. Earwigs can fly, but they don’t often do so.

Adult males have broad, curved antennae, whereas females have tiny antennae. The adult grows to about 16mm.



Earwigs devour insects, including other earwigs, spiders, larvae, and aphids. Moreover, they consume plants, flowers, and leaves. They feed during the night and hide in dim, moist locations during the day. If you notice those holes on your leaves and can’t find the culprit, chances are, it’s these nightcrawlers.

They can be discovered in the garden behind stones, moist leaves, and tree branches. They hide inside homes in crevices in the walls or under the floors.

Indicators of earwig damage

Earwig damage resembles slug and snail damage in appearance. Look for the distinguishing feature of slugs and snails, which is a trail of slime left over on vegetation, to distinguish between the two.

The leaves will look ragged and pock-marked. Overnight, plants will start to look ragged, and some leaves might only get eaten partially. Additionally, there will probably be a scattering of the little, black pellets that make up earwig excrement.

When it rains, earwigs are forced to seek out dry shelter by climbing up into plants and foliage, which often results in damage.


How to Remove Earwigs

Although they can be just as annoying, earwigs typically pose less damage to your garden than insects like Japanese beetles and aphids. Keep in mind that they can emit a nasty smell when disturbed

  • Recognize the culprit

The first stage in eradicating the insect issue is determining whether or whether your property has an earwig infestation. Due to their size, earwigs are sometimes mistaken for other pests like termites. If you have an earwig infestation outside the home, you will see them swarming around external lighting because they are more active at night and drawn to lights.

If you have softer fruits or seedlings in your garden, it may be more vulnerable to earwigs. Examine your plants for earwig bite marks or the insects themselves. If you know where to look, you won’t have any trouble identifying them because they are apparent to the unaided eye.

Additionally, earwigs can enter homes. You may occasionally bring them inside without knowing, whether it be from the veggies that are planted outside, newspaper, or even wood for a fireplace.


  • Consider these traps

One of the most efficient ways to get rid of this issue is by trapping.

–          In between the spaces between your plants, place bamboo or garden hose segments that are one foot long. Every morning, check these “traps” and discard the earwigs into a pail of soapy water.

–          Apply petroleum jelly all over the plant stems. Earwigs won’t dare crawl on top of it.


–          Try scattering some borax about your woodpile if it is infested, but when you do so, keep kids and dogs away from the area.


–          Use oil pit traps. A small plastic container with a lid should be filled with a mixture of soy sauce and olive or vegetable oil in equal parts. Pierce the container’s top near the lid with holes. To allow the earwigs to enter, make the holes big enough. Just enough soil should be added to the holes to bury the container. Oil will keep the earwigs from fleeing while the soy sauce will draw them in. As required, adjust the mixture. Discover more about building earwig traps.


Using insecticides

These can stop an earwig infestation but you must be careful not to damage your vegetation. The most effective and environmentally friendly ones contain spinosad.


Alcohol acts as a surfactant, or wetting agent, which can through an insect’s waxy shell of armor and kill on contact with the body, controlling these pests. Rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) works well and is widely available, but be sure it is free of chemicals. It seems that ethanol works the best. Mix equal quantities of water and 70% alcohol (or, if using 95 percent alcohol, 1 part alcohol to 12 parts water) to create an insecticidal spray. Target the insects specifically since the spray needs to come into contact with them to be an effective earwig control.

Get expert pest control services

There is no question that earwigs are harmful insects if you care about your plants. Extermination services are your greatest option if you’re fed up with your garden being damaged and the results of your labor being ruined.

Without expert earwig control services, getting rid of earwigs completely from your house or garden can be challenging.

A female earwig can deposit up to 30 eggs at once and will dig a burrow for them. This can grow into a significant infestation very rapidly, leaving some people wondering how to get rid of earwigs. While DIY solutions like setting a bowl of fish oil in the shade can be helpful for mild infestations, hiring a professional to set traps can be more beneficial and efficient for major infestations.