Updated: March 21, 2023

Earwigs are common household pests that can be found in gardens, flower beds, and even inside homes. These insects are known for their distinct appearance, which includes a pair of pincers located at the end of their abdomen. While earwigs do not pose any serious health risks to humans, they can cause damage to plants and other household items. In recent years, catnip has been touted as a natural repellent for earwigs. But does it really work?

What is Catnip?

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a member of the mint family and is native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial plant that produces fragrant leaves that are often used to make tea or as a seasoning for food. Catnip has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, including its ability to soothe upset stomachs and alleviate headaches. However, it is perhaps best known for its effect on cats. When cats come into contact with catnip, they often exhibit playful behavior such as rolling around on the ground or rubbing their faces on the plant.

Earwigs and their Behavior

Earwigs are nocturnal creatures that prefer dark, damp environments such as under rocks or in soil. They are attracted to light and can often be found around porch lights or other outdoor lighting fixtures. Earwigs are also known to enter homes through small cracks or openings in doors and windows. Once inside, they will hide in dark crevices such as baseboards or cabinets. Earwigs primarily feed on decaying plant matter but can also cause damage to plants by feeding on leaves and flowers.

Catnip as an Earwig Repellent

There are several theories as to why catnip may repel earwigs. One theory suggests that the essential oil found in catnip, nepetalactone, acts as a natural insect repellent. Another theory suggests that catnip may interfere with the pheromones that earwigs use to communicate with each other, thus disrupting their behavior patterns.

Several scientific studies have been conducted on the effects of catnip on earwigs. One study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology found that catnip oil was effective at repelling earwigs for up to 48 hours. Another study published in the same journal found that a combination of catnip oil and diatomaceous earth was effective at killing earwigs.

While catnip has shown promise as an earwig repellent, it is important to note that it may not be effective for all species of earwigs. Additionally, some experts caution that using catnip as a repellent may attract more cats to the area, which could lead to other problems.

Using Catnip to Repel Earwigs

If you are interested in using catnip to repel earwigs, there are several tips you can follow:

  • Plant catnip around your garden or home
  • Place dried catnip leaves in small sachets and place them around your home
  • Sprinkle catnip oil around areas where earwigs are known to gather

It is important to note that while catnip may repel earwigs, it may not be effective at eliminating an existing infestation. Additionally, some people may be allergic to catnip and should avoid using it.


In conclusion, while there is some evidence to suggest that catnip may repel earwigs, it may not be effective for all species of earwigs and may not eliminate an existing infestation. It is important to take steps to prevent infestations from occurring in the first place, such as sealing cracks and openings in your home and keeping your garden free from debris. If you do choose to use catnip as a repellent, be sure to do so carefully and monitor its effectiveness closely.