Updated: March 30, 2023

Earwigs are small insects that belong to the order Dermaptera. They have a distinctive appearance, with elongated bodies and pincer-like appendages at the end of their abdomen. These insects are often found in dark, damp places such as under rocks or in crevices of trees. Earwigs are also known to be attracted to plants, which has led to the common belief that they can kill plants. In this article, we will explore whether or not earwigs really kill plants.

The Truth About Earwigs and Plants

Earwigs are omnivores, which means they feed on both plant and animal matter. While they do occasionally feed on plants, they are not typically considered a significant threat to plant life. In fact, earwigs have been known to eat other insects that can be harmful to plants, such as aphids and spider mites.

Earwigs may nibble on leaves or flowers, but their feeding habits are generally not severe enough to cause significant damage to plants. In most cases, the damage caused by earwigs is cosmetic and does not affect the overall health of the plant. However, if earwig populations become too large, they may cause more serious damage.

When Earwigs Become a Problem

While earwigs are not typically considered a major threat to plants, there are some situations where they can become a problem. If the population of earwigs in an area becomes too large, they may begin to feed more heavily on plants. This can lead to significant damage to leaves, flowers, and fruits.

Earwigs are also attracted to moist environments, which means that they may be more likely to feed on plants that are growing in areas with high humidity or moisture levels. If you have a garden or landscaping that requires frequent watering, you may be more likely to encounter problems with earwigs.

Controlling Earwigs

If you are concerned about earwigs damaging your plants, there are several things you can do to control their population. Here are a few tips:

  • Remove debris: Earwigs are attracted to dark, damp places, so removing piles of leaves or other debris from your yard can help discourage them from setting up shop in your garden.
  • Reduce moisture: Earwigs thrive in moist environments, so reducing the amount of water you use on your plants can help make them less attractive to these insects.
  • Use repellents: There are several natural and chemical repellents that can be used to discourage earwigs from feeding on your plants. Some popular options include diatomaceous earth, neem oil, and insecticidal soap.
  • Use traps: You can also set traps for earwigs using materials such as rolled-up newspapers or inverted flowerpots filled with straw. These traps can be placed near plants to catch and remove earwigs.


Are earwigs harmful to humans?

While earwigs may look intimidating, they are not harmful to humans. They do have pincers at the end of their abdomen, but these are used primarily for defense and are not strong enough to cause any serious harm.

Do earwigs bite?

Earwigs are capable of biting, but they rarely do so. If they feel threatened, they may use their pincers to defend themselves, but their bite is not venomous and is generally not painful.

How do I know if I have an earwig infestation?

If you notice small holes or ragged edges on the leaves of your plants or see earwigs crawling around in your garden, you may have an infestation. You can also set traps to catch and identify earwigs.

Can I use pesticides to control earwigs?

While pesticides can be effective in controlling earwig populations, they may also harm beneficial insects and can have negative effects on the environment. It is generally recommended to use natural methods of control before resorting to pesticides.


In conclusion, while earwigs are capable of feeding on plants, they are not typically considered a major threat to plant life. If you are concerned about earwig damage to your plants, there are several things you can do to control their population, including removing debris from your yard, reducing moisture levels, using repellents, and setting traps. By taking these steps, you can help keep your plants healthy and free from potential damage caused by earwigs.