Pesky Little Critters

Earwig Infestation and Soil Health:
What You Need to Know

Updated: June 10, 2023

Earwig Infestation and Soil Health: What You Need to Know

Are you noticing an increased number of earwigs in your garden? Do you wonder if they are harming your plants or even your soil? Earwigs are common insects that can invade your garden, and it is essential to understand their impact on the soil health. In this article, we will discuss earwig infestations and soil health, what you need to know, and how to control them.

What are Earwigs?

Earwigs are insects that belong to the order Dermaptera. They have a long and slender body with two pairs of wings. Earwigs are nocturnal and are mostly found in damp areas such as under rocks, logs, or plant debris. They feed on a variety of plants, insects, and other small invertebrates.

How do Earwigs Affect Soil Health?

Earwigs can be beneficial or harmful to the soil health depending on their population density. In small numbers, earwigs can help control other pests such as aphids, mites, and caterpillars. They also eat decaying plant matter and contribute to soil aeration.

However, when their population grows out of control, earwigs can cause significant damage to plants by chewing on leaves, flowers, and fruits. They can also disturb the soil by creating tunnels and burrows which can lead to erosion and compaction.

Signs of Earwig Infestation

The following signs can indicate an earwig infestation:

  • Presence of earwigs in large numbers
  • Chewing damage on leaves, flowers, and fruits
  • Holes in the soil caused by burrowing

How to Control Earwig Infestations

Here are some methods you can use to control earwig infestations:

  1. Traps: Place rolled-up newspaper or cardboard tubes in the garden where earwigs are likely to hide. The earwigs will crawl into the tubes, and you can dispose of them.

  2. Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around plants and in areas where earwigs are present. The tiny particles will penetrate the exoskeleton of the earwigs, causing them to dehydrate and die.

  3. Insecticides: Apply insecticides containing pyrethrin or carbaryl to plants and soil to kill earwigs. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.

  4. Cultural Methods: Remove plant debris and other hiding places for earwigs. Use organic mulch instead of rocks or gravel to discourage earwigs from burrowing.


Are earwigs harmful to humans?

Earwigs are not harmful to humans. Despite their intimidating appearance, they do not pose any significant health risks.

How do I prevent earwig infestations?

To prevent earwig infestations, maintain good garden hygiene by removing plant debris, reducing moisture, and using organic mulch.

Can earwigs be beneficial to my garden?

Yes, in small numbers, earwigs can be beneficial to your garden as they help control other pests and contribute to soil health.

In conclusion, earwigs can be both beneficial and harmful to soil health depending on their population density. By understanding earwig infestations and taking preventive measures, you can minimize their impact on your garden.