While their large pinchers might seem threatening, earwigs are actually quite harmless, and in many cases can be a welcome addition to your yard’s natural ecosystem. And no, the old wives’ tales are not true—earwigs never burrow into human ears or present any other threat to people or pets. In fact, in small numbers, these nocturnal, reddish-brown insects are actually beneficial, helping rid our lawns of decaying organic matter and undesirable or damaging bugs like aphids, slugs, snails, and mites.

However, when conditions are just right, earwig populations can explode. In these instances, earwigs can cause significant damage to your lawn and garden, as they begin feeding on living plants, like vegetables, fruits, and ornamental flowers. In these cases, you’ll need to act fast to prevent costly damage. The following tips will help you keep earwig populations to a healthy, manageable level, all without resorting to poisonous, old-school pesticides.


  • Jagged leaves with holes throughout your lawn and garden, similar to slug and snail damage but without the tell-tale slime trails.
  • Check on or around damaged plants for small black spots, this is what earwig poop looks like.
  • Lawn & garden damage that seems to occur mostly after rainy or particularly humid weather.
  • If you have planters, furniture, or any other equipment or tools in your yard, lift them up and check for earwigs. The babies look just like adult earwigs only smaller. They are likely to be found near mulch and other moist organic debris, too.


Preventing earwigs is much easier than getting rid of a thriving population. Thankfully, prevention is quite easy and essentially all comes down to basic home and lawn maintenance. Here’s how to do it:

  • Earwigs usually enter our homes through small cracks or holes in windows, screens, doorways, baseboards, and countertops. Check these areas for possible earwig entry points and re-seal or repair items as needed. This will help with other common household bugs like ants, too.
  • Leaky faucets, drains, and other plumping either inside or outside your home can attract earwigs. Clogged gutters are also a common source of earwig problems. Check these items periodically and repair, replace, or clean as needed.
  • Earwigs tend to live in and feed on moist organic matter, like mulch, stacks of wood, leaves, and unkempt vegetation. Removing these attractants and other unnecessary clutter from your lawn can make a big difference when it comes to earwigs.
  • Large overhanging branches and dense shrubbery can help create moist, shady areas in your lawn, which is exactly the environment earwigs need to survive. Trim trees and bushes as needed to limit possible earwig hideouts.


A DIY earwig trap is an effective way to reduce the number of earwigs in your lawn and garden. Just roll up a few sheets of damp newspaper and bind them together with a couple rubber bands. Place these rolls both inside and outside wherever earwigs tend to congregate, or near where you suspect they may be damaging your plants. Then simply check them the next day and dispose of any trapped earwigs. Pretty easy, right?


Garden pests can create a vicious cycle that ultimately ruins your beautiful lawn and garden. It goes like this: pest damage leads to a less healthy lawn, and sicklier lawns are more attractive to damaging garden pests.

Break up this cycle by treating your lawn each month with the family-friendly Lawn & Garden Kit. Not only will this kill any unwanted bugs in your lawn—like mosquitoes, ants, fleas, ticks, and chiggers—but it will help prevent additional damaging pests like earwigs from taking hold. Repeat treatments monthly during the warm months or more as needed.

Because the Lawn & Garden Kit is non-toxic and plant-based, no downtime is required. You, your family, and pets can enjoy your lawn immediately after application.



While they’re mostly seen outdoors, earwigs occasionally find their way inside your home in search of food and shelter. A quick spray with family and pet-safe Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray will kill any earwigs you see inside on contact.

To help keep future earwigs outdoors, spray known entry points and trouble areas like the baseboards and flooring in your bathrooms, laundry room, basement, and kitchen weekly with Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray until the problem improves.




Like many insects, earwigs are attracted to lights, especially any lighting positioned or pointing outdoors. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to address this common earwig attractant. A quick switch from traditional light bulbs to sodium bulbs can make a significant difference in the number of earwigs you experience near your home. Giving off a more yellow light, these bulbs lack the blue wavelengths that tend to attract unwanted bugs.


A thriving ecosystem with plenty of birds is often enough to keep unwanted earwig populations in check. Installing a few bird feeders or baths near earwig trouble spots in your yard can provide almost immediate results.

Corinna Henderson