Press ESC to close

Your Ultimate Guide to Conquering Pests and Regaining Control

How Do I Protect My Garden Or Potted Plants From Earwig Damage?

You’re a proud garden owner or a passionate plant lover, and when it comes to your precious greens, nothing worries you more than the thought of pesky earwig damage. Whether it’s your sprawling garden or carefully nurtured potted plants, you want to ensure they stay happy and healthy. But fear not! In this article, we’ll share some simple and effective tips to protect your beloved plants from the notorious earwig menace. From natural repellents to strategic plant placement, you’ll discover practical solutions that will keep your garden flourishing and free from any unwanted earwig guests.

How Do I Protect My Garden Or Potted Plants From Earwig Damage?

Prevention and Preparation

Identifying the Problem

Before we delve into the various methods of protecting your garden or potted plants from earwig damage, let’s first understand the problem at hand. Earwigs are small, brown insects that have pincers at the end of their abdomens, giving them their distinctive and somewhat intimidating appearance. These nocturnal creatures are known to feed on a wide range of plant material, including flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Identifying the presence of earwigs in your garden is crucial in developing an effective protection plan.

Understanding Earwigs

Earwigs are primarily attracted to moist and dark environments, such as damp soil, mulch, and decaying plant matter. They are particularly active during warm and humid nights, making them a common nuisance in gardens and potted plants. These omnivorous pests can cause significant damage to your precious plants, leaving behind ragged holes and chewed foliage. By understanding their habits and preferences, we can better protect our plants from their destructive feeding habits.

Assessing Vulnerability

Not all plants are equally vulnerable to earwig damage. Some species, such as dahlias and marigolds, are particularly attractive to these insects. It is important to assess the vulnerability of your plants to determine the level of protection they may require. By identifying which plants are most susceptible, you can prioritize your efforts and allocate resources effectively.

Eliminating Attractive Conditions

Creating a hostile environment for earwigs is an essential step in preventing damage to your garden or potted plants. Start by reducing excessive moisture in your garden, as earwigs thrive in damp conditions. Avoid overwatering, improve drainage, and clear away any standing water sources. Additionally, removing debris, such as leaf litter and decaying plant material, will eliminate potential hiding spots for these pests. By eliminating attractive conditions, you are proactively deterring earwigs from infiltrating your garden.

Barrier Methods

Creating Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be highly effective in preventing earwigs from accessing your precious plants. Use fine mesh or netting to cover vulnerable areas and create a barrier that these insects cannot penetrate. Make sure to secure the barrier tightly to ensure that no gaps or openings are present. This method acts as a physical deterrent, preventing earwigs from reaching your plants and causing damage.

Using Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are a simple yet effective way to catch and control earwigs in your garden. These traps are readily available in gardening stores or can be easily made at home using materials such as yellow cards coated with adhesive or petroleum jelly. Place the traps near plants that are susceptible to earwig damage, and the sticky surface will attract and capture these pests. Keep in mind that regular monitoring and replacement of the traps are necessary for optimal effectiveness.

Trenching and Trapping

Creating a trench filled with gravel or diatomaceous earth around your garden or potted plants serves as a barrier to deter earwigs. These insects are not strong fliers and are unable to traverse high or steep obstacles easily. Line the trench with the chosen material, ensuring it is at least four inches deep. This method acts as a physical barrier, preventing the pests from crawling up and reaching your plants. Regularly inspect and clean the trench to maintain its effectiveness.

Installing Copper Strips

Copper strips can be an excellent preventive measure against earwig infestations. These pests dislike the sensation of copper on their bodies and tend to avoid crossing it. By installing copper strips around the base of your plants or creating copper collars for potted plants, you create a deterrent that can effectively protect your greenery. Ensure that the strips or collars are in direct contact with the soil to maximize their effectiveness.

Natural Predators

Encouraging Beneficial Insects

Introduce beneficial insects into your garden to naturally control the population of earwigs. Lacewings, ground beetles, and parasitic wasps are all natural predators of these pests. Planting nectar-rich flowers, such as daisies and fennel, will attract and provide sustenance for these beneficial insects. By creating a welcoming habitat, you can encourage the presence of natural predators that will help keep earwig populations in check.

Attracting Birds

Birds, such as robins and starlings, are voracious consumers of earwigs and can play a significant role in managing the population. Provide birdhouses or nesting sites in your garden to attract these feathered allies. Additionally, consider offering bird feeders with high-protein food sources to entice a diverse range of insect-eating birds. By attracting and welcoming birds into your garden, you can harness their natural pest control abilities.

Introducing Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that can infect and kill earwigs. These beneficial organisms are available commercially and can be applied to the soil to target earwig larvae and adults. Follow the instructions provided by the supplier to effectively introduce nematodes into your garden. Regular application may be necessary to maintain a sustained population of nematodes, ensuring the ongoing control of earwig populations.

Providing Shelter for Frogs and Toads

Frogs and toads are excellent natural predators of earwigs and other garden pests. By creating a welcoming environment that offers shelter and a water source, you can attract these amphibians to your garden. Provide a small pond or water feature, and incorporate rocks and dense vegetation to create suitable hiding places. By attracting frogs and toads, you are enlisting their help in controlling earwig populations naturally.

Cultural Practices

Proper Plant Placement

Strategically placing plants in your garden can greatly reduce the likelihood of earwig damage. Avoid planting susceptible species in low-lying or damp areas, as these are prime locations for earwig populations to thrive. Instead, choose higher ground with well-drained soil whenever possible. Proper plant placement is a proactive measure that minimizes the risk of attracting earwigs to your garden.

Regular Plant Maintenance

Maintaining your plants in good health is crucial in preventing and mitigating earwig damage. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of stress or susceptibility to pests. Proper watering, fertilization, and pruning are essential cultural practices that promote plant vigor and resilience. By keeping your plants healthy and robust, they are less likely to attract and succumb to earwig damage.

Cleaning Up Debris

Clearing away debris, such as fallen leaves and garden clutter, can help eliminate potential hiding spots for earwigs. These pests seek out dark and moist areas to shelter during the day. By maintaining a tidy garden and removing favorable habitat for earwigs, you discourage their presence and reduce the risk of damage to your plants.

Avoiding Overwatering

As mentioned earlier, earwigs are attracted to moist environments. It is important to strike a balance when watering your plants, avoiding overwatering. Providing adequate moisture without creating excessively damp conditions will help deter earwigs from congregating near your plants. Consider using drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the roots, minimizing the likelihood of creating damp areas that are attractive to these pests.

How Do I Protect My Garden Or Potted Plants From Earwig Damage?

Natural Deterrents and Repellents

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance made from the fossilized remains of tiny marine organisms. It consists of sharp, microscopic particles that cause abrasions and dehydration in insects. Sprinkle a thin layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth around vulnerable plants or areas where earwigs are frequently seen. The particles will penetrate the exoskeleton of the pests, leading to their demise. Be sure to reapply after rain or when the earth becomes compacted.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are a readily available and affordable deterrent for earwigs. Sprinkling used coffee grounds around your plants can help deter these pests. The strong aroma and acidity of coffee create an unfavorable environment for them, making them less likely to approach. Ensure that the coffee grounds are dry to maximize their repellent effect. Regular application may be necessary to maintain their effectiveness.

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, and citrus oils, have repellent properties that discourage earwigs from approaching your plants. Dilute a few drops of essential oil in water and spray the mixture onto the foliage and surrounding areas. The strong scent will deter the pests and help protect your plants. Remember to reapply the solution regularly, especially after rain or heavy watering.

Garlic Spray

Garlic has long been used as a natural insect repellent, and it can be an effective deterrent against earwigs as well. Crush several garlic cloves and steep them in water for a few days. Strain the solution and dilute it further with water before applying directly to plants or the soil surrounding them. The pungent odor of garlic will keep earwigs at bay. Reapply the spray every few days for continued protection.

Chemical Control

Considerations and Precautions

Chemical control should be considered a last resort, as it may have unintended consequences on beneficial insects and the environment. If other methods have proven ineffective, exercise caution when using chemical insecticides. Read and follow the product instructions carefully, taking note of any precautions and safety measures. Use targeted insecticides for earwigs and apply them sparingly and judiciously, focusing on the areas where they are most active.

Insecticidal Soaps

Insecticidal soaps are an option to consider for controlling earwigs in your garden. These soaps are formulated to break down the protective coatings on insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. Dilute the soap according to the instructions and spray directly onto the pests or the foliage they are infesting. Repeat applications may be necessary, especially after rain or heavy watering. Be cautious not to apply on hot and sunny days, as it may cause leaf burn.

Pyrethrin-Based Insecticides

Pyrethrin-based insecticides, derived from chrysanthemum flowers, can be effective against earwigs. These natural insecticides disrupt the nervous system of pests, leading to their demise. Follow the product instructions for proper dilution and application. Be mindful of the potential harm to beneficial insects and pollinators, and use these insecticides selectively and sparingly.

Carbaryl-Based Insecticides

Carbaryl-based insecticides, also known as carbamates, can provide control against earwigs. These broad-spectrum insecticides target many garden pests, including earwigs. However, they may also impact beneficial insects and other non-target organisms. Use caution when considering carbaryl-based products and follow the instructions carefully to minimize risks to the environment and beneficial populations.

How Do I Protect My Garden Or Potted Plants From Earwig Damage?

Companion Planting


Marigolds are well-known for their ability to repel pests, including earwigs. Plant marigolds around your garden or among susceptible plants to deter earwigs from approaching. These vibrant flowers emit a scent that is unappealing to the pests, and their bright colors can act as a natural visual deterrent as well. Incorporating marigolds into your garden not only adds beauty but also helps protect your plants.


Calendula, often called pot marigold, is another beneficial companion plant for deterring earwigs. This cheerful annual flower produces bright orange or yellow blooms that add beauty to your garden while serving a practical purpose. The subtle fragrance of calendula acts as a natural repellent, sending earwigs in search of more hospitable locations. Plant them strategically amongst vulnerable plants to help deter these pests.


Nasturtiums are versatile and attractive flowers that also provide protection against earwig damage. These vibrant blooms release a strong scent that acts as a deterrent. Plant nasturtiums as a border around your garden or in close proximity to susceptible plants, effectively creating a protective barrier. Furthermore, nasturtiums are known to attract aphids, providing a secondary benefit by diverting the attention of these pests away from your valuable plants.


Lavender is not only loved for its fragrant blossoms but also for its ability to naturally repel pests such as earwigs. Plant lavender near your garden or potted plants to create a fragrant barrier that discourages these insects. The aromatic oils released by lavender act as a natural deterrent, helping to protect your greenery. Plus, the presence of lavender adds beauty and tranquility to your garden space.

Physical Traps and Control

Rolled Newspaper Traps

Rolled newspaper traps are a simple and effective way to capture and control earwigs. Roll up a few sheets of newspaper into tight cylinders, dampen them, and place them near affected plants. Earwigs will seek shelter in the damp newspaper during the day, allowing you to collect and dispose of them each morning. Repeat this process as necessary until the earwig population is under control.

Cardboard Traps

Similar to newspaper traps, cardboard traps can be used to capture and control earwigs. Cut strips or squares of corrugated cardboard and dampen them. Place the cardboard pieces on the ground near affected plants or in areas where earwigs are active. The pests will seek shelter in the crevices of the cardboard, offering a convenient and biodegradable trap. Regularly collect and dispose of the cardboard as part of your control efforts.

Shaking and Bagging

A simple but labor-intensive method of controlling earwigs is shaking and bagging. Don a pair of gloves, approach plants with affected foliage, and lightly shake or tap them. This dislodges the pests, causing them to fall to the ground. Collect the fallen earwigs by hand and place them into a bag or container for disposal. Repeat this process as needed, making it a regular part of your gardening routine.


If you have the time and patience, handpicking earwigs can be an effective method of control. Head out to your garden early in the morning or at dusk when earwigs are most active. Wearing gloves, carefully inspect plants and foliage for the presence of these pests. Simply pick them off by hand and place them into a bucket, bag, or soapy water for disposal. Although time-consuming, handpicking allows for direct control and helps reduce the impact on beneficial insects and the environment.

Protecting Potted Plants

Using Horticultural Fleece

Horticultural fleece is a lightweight and breathable fabric that can protect potted plants from earwig damage. Wrap the fleece around the pot, ensuring that it covers the drainage holes. This creates a physical barrier that restricts access for earwigs. The fleece also permits airflow and optimal drainage, maintaining a healthy growing environment for your potted plants.

Elevating Pots

Elevating potted plants can help deter earwigs from climbing up and accessing your plants. Place pots on stands or risers that sit above ground level. Ensure that the legs of the stands or risers are smooth or coated with a slippery substance to prevent the pests from scaling and reaching your plants. This method makes it more challenging for earwigs to target your potted plants.

Applying Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly can be a useful barrier against earwigs when applied to the rim of pots. Coat the upper rim of your pots with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, creating a sticky obstacle for these pests. The greasy texture makes it difficult for earwigs to crawl up and reach your plants. Regularly check and reapply the petroleum jelly, especially after rain or watering.

Adjusting Watering Techniques

Proper watering techniques can help reduce the risk of earwig damage to your potted plants. Water your pots from below by placing them in a tray or saucer filled with water. This prevents excess moisture on the surface of the potting mix, which can attract earwigs. Watering from below also encourages the growth of deep roots, making your plants less susceptible to the feeding activities of these pests.

Monitoring and Regular Inspection

Setting Traps

Setting traps is an essential part of monitoring and controlling earwig populations. Place sticky traps, rolled newspaper traps, or cardboard traps near vulnerable plants or in areas where earwigs are commonly seen. Regularly check the traps and record the number of earwigs caught. Monitoring the traps allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your control methods and make adjustments as necessary.

Nighttime Monitoring

As earwigs are primarily nocturnal, monitoring them during nighttime can provide valuable insights into their activity and behavior. Venture into your garden after dark with a flashlight and observe the areas where earwigs are active. Identify hiding spots, feeding patterns, and vulnerable plants. By understanding their behavior, you can tailor your control strategies more effectively.

Inspecting Plants Regularly

Regular inspections of your garden and potted plants are vital in detecting early signs of earwig damage. Carefully examine leaves, stems, and flowers for chewed edges, holes, or missing sections. Look for telltale signs of earwig activity, such as fecal pellets or shed skins. Prompt detection allows for timely intervention, preventing further damage and protecting your plants.

Keep Records of Infestation

Maintaining records of earwig infestation is a useful practice for tracking population trends and evaluating the effectiveness of your control measures. Take notes of the number of earwigs caught in traps, the extent of damage to plants, and the success of various prevention methods. By documenting infestations, you can make informed decisions and implement proactive measures to protect your garden or potted plants in the future.

In conclusion, protecting your garden or potted plants from earwig damage requires a multifaceted approach. By understanding the biology and habits of earwigs, identifying vulnerable plants, and implementing a combination of prevention, natural control methods, and cultural practices, you can effectively safeguard your green space. Regular monitoring and consistent implementation of the strategies outlined in this article will help you maintain healthy, beautiful plants that are free from the ravages of earwigs. With a diligent and proactive approach, your garden can thrive, and you can enjoy its beauty without the worry of earwig damage.


Hi, I'm Pest Control, the author behind Bug Masters Online. My mission is to provide you with the ultimate guide to conquering pests and regaining control of your space. At Bug Masters Online, we understand the importance of maintaining a pest-free environment in your home or business. That's why we offer a comprehensive range of products that tackle pest infestations head-on. Our website is not just a place to purchase products – it's a hub of knowledge where you can learn about different pests, their behaviors, habitats, and effective prevention strategies. With our carefully curated selection of products, you can say goodbye to frustrating flies and pesky mice. Let's put an end to your pest problems together.