Earwigs can be a pest — and not just because of that scary old wives’ tale that they will crawl into your ear and lay eggs (they won’t!).

Earwigs are actually quite contradictory in that they can be both a garden pest and helper at the same time. They’re beneficial in compost piles and as predators because they eat nuisances like aphids, mites, and undesirable nematodes, as well as other insect larvae. Earwigs are actually omnivorous, and primarily feed on decaying organic matter as well as those pest insects.

However, earwigs also unfortunately eat ornamental and vegetable plants, particularly dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhocks, lettuce, strawberries, potatoes, roses, and seedling beans and beets, as well as the silk of sweet corn. In gardens and greenhouses, they chew irregularly shaped holes in plant leaves and flower petals, tunnel into flower buds, and also consume seedlings.

Earwigs can also wreak havoc outside of the garden because they’re attracted to moist areas around and inside homes. They can become serious pests when they come indoors, and also when outdoor populations get out of control and do major damage on your garden.

Read more: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/a20706728/how-to-control-earwigs/