How to Get Rid of Earwigs on Roses: Effective Ways

by Jennifer

Roses are often cherished for their beauty and fragrance, but gardeners frequently encounter challenges when earwigs infest these delicate plants. Earwigs, characterized by their pincer-like cerci at the tip of their abdomen, can damage roses by feeding on petals, buds, and tender new growth. Controlling earwig populations requires a strategic approach that integrates both preventive measures and targeted interventions.


Understanding Earwigs and Their Impact on Roses

Earwigs (order Dermaptera) are nocturnal insects that seek shelter in moist, dark environments during the day. They are attracted to decaying organic matter and can be found hiding in mulch, leaf litter, and crevices around roses. Although they primarily feed on plant material, they are also known to prey on aphids and other small insects, making them somewhat beneficial in natural ecosystems but detrimental in rose gardens.

Signs of Earwig Infestation

Identifying an earwig infestation early is crucial for effective control. Common signs include:

Damage to Rose Petals and Buds: Earwigs leave irregular holes and jagged edges on petals and buds.

Presence of Earwigs: Spotting earwigs crawling on roses or hiding under petals during the day.

Silvery Trails: Earwigs produce silvery or blackish excrement trails known as frass, especially on foliage.

See Also: How Often Should I Spray My Roses for Blackspot?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Approach

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic strategy that combines cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical control methods to manage pests effectively while minimizing environmental impact. When dealing with earwigs on roses, IPM strategies can be tailored to suit both residential and commercial gardening practices.

Cultural Controls

Sanitation: Maintain a clean garden by removing debris, leaf litter, and decaying plant matter where earwigs hide during the day.

Mulch Management: Use inorganic mulch such as gravel around the base of roses to reduce earwig hiding places. Avoid using organic mulches like straw or wood chips, which can attract earwigs.

Pruning Practices: Regularly prune roses to improve air circulation and remove hiding places for earwigs.

Mechanical Controls

Traps: Place rolled-up newspaper or cardboard tubes in the garden during the evening. Earwigs will crawl into these traps, which can be collected and disposed of in the morning.

Shaking and Handpicking: Shake rose bushes gently in the evening to dislodge earwigs, then handpick and destroy them.

Biological Controls

Natural Predators: Encourage beneficial insects such as birds, ground beetles, and parasitic wasps that feed on earwigs.

Nematodes: Apply beneficial nematodes to the soil to control earwig larvae.

Chemical Controls

Botanical Insecticides: Use insecticidal soaps or oils that are safe for roses to control earwigs. Ensure the product is labeled for earwig control and follow application instructions carefully.

Pyrethrin-Based Insecticides: These are effective against earwigs and have minimal residual impact on the environment.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing earwig infestations is often more effective than treating established populations. Implement the following preventive measures to safeguard roses:

Barriers: Use physical barriers such as copper tape around rose stems to deter earwigs.

Companion Planting: Plant companion plants like garlic, chives, and marigolds that repel earwigs.

Proper Irrigation: Avoid overwatering, as moist conditions attract earwigs. Water roses in the morning to allow foliage to dry during the day.

Monitoring and Assessment

Regularly monitor roses for signs of earwig activity, especially during their peak feeding times in spring and early summer. Assess the effectiveness of control measures and adjust strategies as needed based on garden conditions and severity of infestation.


In conclusion, while earwigs can present a challenge in rose gardening, armed with knowledge and a comprehensive IPM strategy, gardeners can successfully protect their roses from these pesky insects. By fostering a balanced ecosystem and employing targeted interventions, roses can continue to be a source of joy and beauty in any garden.


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