With sharp pincers on one end, long antennae on the other, a shiny cockroachy-brown body, and a rapid, slithery way of scuttling for cover, the earwig is one of those critters that gives even bug-loving gardeners the willies.
Though it looks creepy, the earwig helps control insect pests in your garden and feeds on rotting vegetation, so it is mostly harmless and even could be considered beneficial. Then again, it may also eat your seedlings.
If you have an earwig infestation or suspect they’re eating your dahlias (they also especially like zinnias, lettuce, sunflowers, roses, and bean seedlings), place loose rolls of damp newspaper in the yard. The earwigs will retire to this cool, damp place after a night of feeding. In the morning, shake them out of the trap and into a pail of soapy water.
Photo by Bill DuPree.