Earwigs are some of the least appealing insects to come across for a number of reasons. They’re fast, damaging to gardens in large numbers, and they pinch!
The good news is that earwigs are not dangerous to people or pets. You’re also not very likely to run into an earwig infestation inside or outside of your house.
That said, it is common for people to run into earwigs indoors, especially during summer and into fall, when these critters are most active.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of earwigs in your house and keep them from getting back in, we’re here to help.
But before we discuss how to get rid of earwigs in your house, let’s first talk about what earwigs actually are.
What Are Earwigs?
Earwigs are small, flat insects with six legs and two large pincers on their lower abdominals.
Also commonly called pincher bugs, earwigs are a type of insect in the order Dermaptera. There are several families of earwigs in North America and more than 20 species of earwigs in the United States. Not all earwigs are exactly alike, though they do have plenty of similarities including their varied diet, size and appearance.
On average, earwigs grow to be between 2 to 25 millimeters. They have six legs, three segmented body parts, two antennae and a large set of pincers on their lower abdomen that they use to defend themselves against predators.
They are most active from late spring into fall, at which point they build nests and overwinter for the season. Most earwigs have a lifespan of up to one year, and a single earwig female will lay around 50 eggs in her lifetime. These eggs take about 7 days to hatch, at which point tiny nymphs that look just miniature versions of their adult counterparts emerge.
Earwig nymphs go through five molts before they reach adulthood. Fascinatingly, earwig mothers are quite nurturing. In fact, they often help their infants hatch and continue to live with and protect their nymphs until their second molt.
Although earwigs are not considered harmful to people and pets, they can use their pincers to pinch, and this pinch can be quite painful. That said, they only pinch if handled or threatened, and for the most part these reclusive insects keep to themselves and prefer to stay away from people.
We should also note that, while it is true earwigs can be problematic for garden plants in large numbers, they are typically more beneficial than not.
This is for a few reasons. First, earwigs are solitary, which makes infestations highly unusual. Second, they are scavenging bugs that feed on the eggs of many plant-damaging pests and insects, including aphids. Earwigs have also been known to feast on slugs, which are also damaging to garden plants.
For the most part, though, people tend not to want earwigs around. And if you find them creepy in your garden, we can only imagine how you feel about having them in your home.
But how did you get earwigs indoors, more importantly, how do you get rid of earwigs in your house?
Keep reading to find out!
How Did Earwigs Get In My House?
Earwigs don’t typically live in homes, but they can often come inside homes seeking warmth or food.
Okay, so earwigs do have some redeeming qualities. They eat bad bugs and make good mothers. Still, most of us don’t want earwigs in our homes. Unfortunately, it’s quite common to come across these pests indoors, even though they rarely thrive there.
In general, earwigs prefer living outside where there is an abundance of food, moisture-rich soil, and lots of shelter for them to hide from predators. However, earwigs are sensitive to certain elements and will often make their way indoors in hopes of escaping cooler weather, storms, rains or spring snows.
Earwigs are also attracted to light, though experts are still unsure as to exactly why. They do know, however, that if an earwig wants to get into your home it is not too difficult. These pests are small and flat bodied, meaning they can easily sneak in through cracks, crevices, door gaps, tears in screens, open windows and sometimes even through vents.
Earwigs have also been known to make their way inside via human travel. If you’re wondering how to get rid of earwigs in your house, it’s important you consider this as a possibility.
You could have accidentally invited earwigs inside via a few means, but the two most common include:
Bringing Potted Plants Inside
Many earwigs make cozy homes for themselves between the base of potted plants and the saucers these pots sit on. This makes a perfectly moist and sheltered environment for these pests to build their nests, feast and hide away from predators.
If you know you’re about to experience inclement weather, you may decide to bring your plants in from the outdoors to protect them overnight. This is something many of us do, and is a common way we accidentally bring earwigs into our home.
Bringing Storage Boxes Inside
Another common reason you may be wondering how to get rid of earwigs in your house is due to infested storage boxes. Earwigs are highly attracted to cardboard, especially moist cardboard boxes that have been sitting in garages, crawl spaces or basements.
If you have storage boxes in any of these areas and bring them inside without inspecting them carefully first, you may be unwittingly inviting earwigs into your home.
If this is the case, you’ll be needing to learn how to get rid of earwigs in your house. Which brings us to our next topic – it’s time to talk about the methods you can use for how to get rid of earwigs after they get inside.
Best Methods For How To Get Rid Of Earwigs In Your House
Earwigs certainly look creepy, but they’re typically not dangerous to people or pets. Still, they can pinch and that pinch does hurt.
When it comes to how to get rid of earwigs in your house, there are a few different methods you can use. For the most part, however, getting rid of earwigs is going to require a few different forms of pest control.
This is because an earwig infestation almost always begins outside. If you do have earwigs in your home, then you probably also have them outdoors, which means you’ll want to use methods that allow you both indoor and outdoor protection.
Not all methods will work for everyone when it comes to how to get rid of earwigs in your house, but the good news is that you do have options. You also have the option of using several methods at once for the results.
The different methods for how to get rid of earwigs in your house include:
- Natural Insecticides
- Chemical Insecticides
- And Home Remedies
Each of the above methods for how to get rid of earwigs in your house can be effective in their own way. However, each one also comes with its fair share of pros and cons.
Before you decide which method or product would be right for you when it comes to how to get rid of earwigs in your house, it’s important to do your research. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry.
Our experts have compiled a list of some of their favorite products as well as a bit of information about different types of methods further down.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs In Your House Using Natural Products
Natural products often include organic insecticides that use essential oils and other plant based ingredients.
Using natural insecticides for how to get rid of earwigs in your house is often the first choice of those with children or pets. Natural insecticides have been shown to be highly effective against a number of pests, not just earwigs.
Most natural insecticides work using plant-based ingredients or essential oils to repel and kill pests on contact. These insecticides can come in a variety of forms including ultrasonic pest repellent machines, organic sprays, powders and traps.
Whenever dealing with indoor pests, we do like the idea of using natural products that pose less of a risk to children, pets and the environment. However, we should note that it can sometimes be more difficult to find natural products. You may also find that you must reapply natural insecticides and products more often in order for them to be as effective as chemical insecticides.
However, when used correctly and oftentimes when used in conjunction with other pest control remedies, natural insecticides can work well for how to get rid of earwigs in your house.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
We commonly recommend Diatomaceous Earth to organic gardeners because it is an all natural powder substance derived from fossilized algae. Also known as DE, Diatomaceous Earth is absolutely fine for people and pets, and it even comes in a food-grade powder and includes a duster.
It works effectively against hard-bodied pests like earwigs, and we like it for use indoors not only because it’s safe, but because it works best when dry. You can use this product in your garden and around the perimeter of your home to control earwigs outside as well, though it will need to be reapplied if it gets wet.
Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray
Wondercide is another natural product we recommend for how to get rid of earwigs in your house. This spray is all natural and safe and can even be sprayed in kitchens and in children’s bedrooms.
It works using plant-based ingredients like essential oils and not only kills and repels earwigs, but it also protects against other pests like fleas, roaches, spiders, flies and ants. If you like this spray and find that it works for you, you should also know it’s available in a larger order designed specifically for outdoor use.
Bocianelli Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
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If you’re looking for a natural method for how to get rid of earwigs inside your house, you’ll perhaps find no more natural method than an ultrasonic pest repeller plug in. These machines work by emitting ultrasonic sounds and vibrations that are highly irritating to pests but completely harmless to people and animals.
The above ultrasonic pest repellents by Bocianelli can cover up to 120 square feet and will not only repel earwigs, but also other pests like spiders, ants, roaches, bed bugs, silverfish, mice, rats and even snakes.
Best Insecticides For How To Get Rid Of Earwigs In Your House
If you have a number of earwigs in your home, you likely have many more outside.
Serious pest infestations sometimes call for more heavy duty pest control products, including those that contain chemical ingredients. While it is very unlikely that you’ll have an infestation when looking at how to get rid of earwigs in your house, it is common for earwigs to have laid eggs in nests just outside of your home.
Furthermore, it is not impossible for a number of earwigs to nest in your home if conditions are ideal. This is especially true in storage spaces like garages or crawl spaces, as we discussed previously.
For these types of situations, you might consider investing in a quality chemical insecticide product like one of those listed below specifically for earwig control.
Remember, it’s very important that you also consider the potential risks of using chemical insecticides, especially if you have young children or curious pets in the home.
Some pesticides can be toxic to people and animals, and many chemical insecticides may also be harmful to the environment. Before you use a chemical insecticide for how to get rid of earwigs in your house, it’s important to do plenty of research, read the labels, and use the products only as directed.
It’s also vital that you keep these products out of reach of children and pets when they are not in use.
Raid House and Garden Insect Killer
We like Raid House and Garden because it works for both indoors and outdoors when it comes to how to get rid of earwigs in your house. This is ideal for pests like earwigs, as these insects commonly come in from outdoors, where they are typically more of an issue anyway.
The order comes in several size varieties depending on your needs, and it works by using the active ingredient phenothrin and Prallethrin. It does not leave a strong chemical odor once sprayed and can work on a variety of home invading insects including earwigs, roaches, flies, spiders, crickets, mosquitoes, silverfish, whiteflies and more.
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer
Another product that works for how to get rid of earwigs in your house is ortho Home Defense Insect Killer. Like the Raid spray, this spray can work for both inside and outside.
We like that it comes with it’s own application wand, which is perfect for reaching those tight spaces like corners and along the perimeter of your home where earwigs like to hide. This spray provides up to 12 months of protection and is effective against earwigs, fleas, spiders, ticks, ants, and roaches.
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Cracks and Crevices
If you like the Ortho product on this list for how to get rid of earwigs in your house but don’t need something as extensive, you might consider looking at Ortho Home Defense for Cracks and Crevices listed above. This is a foaming insect killer and repellent that is designed to be used inside the home. It works on a variety of pests like ants, fleas, centipedes, boxelder bugs, crickets and of course, earwigs.
It works by emitting a foaming spray that seeps into tight cracks and crevices, which gets the pests where they are potentially hiding or nesting.
Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of Earwigs In Your House
Getting rid of earwigs can be done at home using products and ingredients you already have in your pantry.
Another option you have for how to get rid of earwigs in your house is to use home remedies. There are plenty of methods floating around regarding do it yourself pest control options, but when it comes to getting rid of earwigs, experts agree there are a few specific methods and household ingredients that work best.
Rubbing Alcohol and Water
Rubbing alcohol is already a harsh substance that can deter even people with its potent smell, so imagine how it must smell to small insects like earwigs!
When combined with equal parts water in a spray bottle, you can use rubbing alcohol to kill these pests on contact. You can also use a rubbing alcohol and water combination to clean surfaces around your home, which can further deter these pests from coming around.
Dish Soap And Water
Dish soap and water is another common home remedy you can use for how to get rid of earwigs in your house. However, be careful of using this method outdoors in gardens or inside on house plants to repel earwigs, as dish soap can be harmful.
Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to two cups of water into a spray bottle and shake the mixture until it is sudsy, Then you can spray the solution directly on earwigs in your home to kill them on contact.
Essential oils work best as a form of deterrent or prevention, but you can also add them to the above solutions to make the home made insecticides more potent.
Not all essential oils will work for how to get rid of earwigs in your house, so make sure you do research and know which ones are recommended.
According to our experts, the best essential oils for how to get rid of earwigs in your house include:
- Basil Oil
- Citronella Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Cedarwood Oil
- Clove OIl
- And Cinnamon Oil
To use essential oil for earwig removal or repellent, you can add 10 to 20 drops of the oil of your choice to two cups of water and combine the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray this solution around your home a few times a week to deter the pests.
You can also soak cotton balls in the oils of your choice and leave them near entry points like windows, doors, vents, and even in basements and garages.
Make A Light Trap
Earwigs are highly attracted to light, as we discussed previously, and you can use this to your advantage for how to get rid of earwigs in your house.
Use either rubbing alcohol mixed with water, or dish soap mixed with water in a flat saucer on the ground, then point a light directly at it. Leave it on all night. In the morning, you should wake to find dead earwigs.
Make A Paper Towel Roll Trap
If you remember, we also discussed how earwigs are attracted to moist cardboard. Try taking an empty paper towel roll and getting it slightly damp, then laying it near the area where you suspect earwig activity.
It’s also a good idea to lay these rolls on wet or moist newspaper. When you wake, you can roll the papers and the paper towel roll up and toss them in a sealed garbage bin, as they’ll likely be riddled with earwigs.
Make an Vegetable Oil and Soy Sauce Trap
Earwigs are attracted to soy sauce, so you can make a relatively easy soy sauce and oil trap by combining equal parts soy sauce and oil in a flat dish or shallow bowl. The pests will crawl in to get a drink of the soy sauce and drown in the oil.
Last, you can always try vacuuming for how to get rid of earwigs in your house. In fact, this might be one of the easiest and most cost effective methods, especially considering it’s highly unlikely you’ll be dealing with a true earwig infestation indoors.
If you do come across a single earwig or two, simply vacuum them up and empty the contents of the vacuum bag in a sealed bag or garbage bin.
Then go about following some of our below preventative measures to keep earwigs from getting back inside.
Tips On How To Keep Earwigs From Coming Back In The Future
Earwigs lay their eggs in soft, moist soil or wood mulch, often below potted plants or decks near your home’s siding.
Although Earwigs don’t typically infest homes, they can infest the areas outside of your home which can lead to them getting inside.
For this reason, it’s especially important to implement some preventative measures throughout the year to not only keep earwigs at bay, but many other common pests as well.
According to experts, you can help keep earwigs out of your house in the future by following the below tips.
Keep Vegetation and Mulch At Least 6 to 12 Inches From Your Home’s Siding
Earwigs typically prefer moist soil, leaf litter, and thick vegetation to live in and lay their eggs in. They also thrive in gardens. If you have gardens bordering your home, consider moving vegetation and mulch at least six to 12 inches from your siding to keep these pests at bay.
Use Cedar Chips or Straw Instead Of Mulch
Typical mulch holds moisture, which can be very attractive to pests like earwigs. To make your property and garden less attractive to these pests, excerpts suggest using cedar mulch instead of wood mulch. You also have the option of using straw.
Seal Any Potential Entry Points Around Your Home
Most earwigs find their way inside your home through small entry points you may not have even known were there. These include entry points like small holes, cracks and crevices, ripped screens, gaps in doorways or open windows.
To avoid having to look into how to get rid of earwigs in your house in the future, we recommend implementing routine home maintenance around your perimeter and sealing any potential entry points you come across.
Remove Any Debris, Leaf Litter or Dead Wood From your Property
Excess debris like leaf litter, dead branches, woodpiles and storage can offer excellent habitats for earwigs and other pests like centipedes, millipedes, spiders and ticks. To reduce these pests, try keeping your yard and property as clear of debris as possible.
Reduce Excess Moisture Inside and Outside Of Your Home
Excess moisture is highly attractive to earwigs. When looking for how to get rid of earwigs in your house, you might consider investing in a dehumidifier. If you’re wondering how to keep earwigs at bay outdoors, remove excess water sources and refrain from overwatering your lawn.
Store Items In Plastic Bins Instead Of Cardboard Boxes
Choose storage bins made of tough plastic instead of cardboard boxes. If you plan to store products in cardboard boxes, try and do your best to keep them from getting wet.
Use A Pest Control Regimen In Your Yard Year Round
Last, try and invest some time into a quality pest control regimen year round to protect your home and yard not only from earwigs, but other common pests as well. Being proactive when it comes to pest control is often less costly and much easier than trying to figure out how to get rid of pests once they’ve invaded.
But luckily, you now know exactly how to get rid of earwigs in your house and keep them from coming back.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on this creepy topic, and that you now feel more prepared to tackle this unnerving earwigs in house pest problem for good.
Best of luck and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.