There is nothing lovely about coming across an earwig. Their pinchers alone are a formidable sight, and in large numbers earwigs can be a hazard to our homes and gardens. So, how do you get rid of earwigs?
The good news is that these insects, also known as pincher bugs, are relatively harmless in small numbers and are even beneficial in their own, unique way. That said, they can become problematic and even a health hazard to some, especially in colder months when they seek shelter in our homes.
Today, we are going to talk about how to get rid of earwigs in the home and in the garden, and how you can monitor and control any future earwig problems.
But before we begin, let’s talk a bit about what exactly an earwig is, why it can be problematic, and how to identify an earwig problem in the first place.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs – Identifying An Earwig Problem
Seeing an earwig is usually the first indicator of a problem.
Unlike ants or bees, who swarm and leave obvious signs as to their presence, earwigs are more reclusive and tend to hide away in cracks and crevices. Even in large numbers, these tiny pincher bugs can be hard to detect unless you go looking.
So, how do you know if you have an earwig problem? Most experts agree that the first sign of an earwig problem will be actually seeing an earwig. If you do see one or two pincher bugs in your home, it’s best to take action quickly.
While earwigs are reclusive in nature, one earwig can mean more, and more earwigs can lead to a number of issues and health problems. While earwigs tend to eat dead insects and plant matter, if their numbers grow too large, their diet can quickly turn to live plant matter, which leaves your gardens in danger.
Let’s take a look at a few common signs of an earwig problem in your home.
You may have an earwig problem if you have:
- Seen an earwig or two
- Smell a foul smelling odor
- Find your plants with damaged or jaggedly bitten leaves
- Have flowers with damaged petals
- Find fruits and veggies with dark holes or black spots on them
What Attracts Earwigs?
Earwigs are attracted to food sources, moisture, and shelter.
If you want to know how to get rid of earwigs, you should first know what attracts them. For the most part, earwigs spend their time outdoors and prefer wet, dark areas they can hide. However, earwigs can and will find their way inside your home if you’re not careful, especially when the weather gets cold.
Wondering what has attracted earwigs to your garden or home?
Earwigs In The Garden:
Earwigs are natural decomposers. As such, these scavengers primarily feed on dead insects and plant material. Earwigs also like damp, dark places to hide. An earwig may be attracted to your garden if it has lots of insects, moist mulch, large stones to hide under, and certain plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Earwigs are also fans of nesting in left out containers, abandoned birdhouses, wet lumbar, undisturbed bags of mulch, and rotting debris. So, if you’re wondering how to get rid of earwigs in your garden, you may want to keep it as tidy as possible.
Earwigs In The Home:
Earwigs are certainly a nuisance, but they can also be a sign of a bigger problem when they invade your home. Because they are attracted to damp, dark places and rotting materials, an earwig infestation could be a sign of a water leak in your basement or cellar.
Sometimes, earwigs can also be a sign of a rat or mouse infestation, as they tend to follow rodents in through the holes they chew in your home’s siding. Furthermore, earwigs typically invade homes during the colder months to hibernate and will tend to hide out in damp, dark areas like under the sink, beneath the refrigerator, and in basements and cellars.
Earwigs are also attracted to homes that leave out fresh fruits they can eat on, or homes with lots of insects milling about, rotting or wet wood materials, or homes with lots of debris left close to the perimeter.
So, along with keeping your garden and home tidy and dry, let’s talk about how to get rid of earwigs using other methods like insecticides, repellents, and a few home remedies.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs – Best Treatment Methods
Earwigs seek shelter indoors during colder months, but you can keep them at bay using a number of methods.
When looking at how to get rid of earwigs effectively, it’s important to know your options so you can choose the best treatment method for you and your home. In general, pincher bugs are easy to remedy with one or more of the below methods:
- Natural Repellents
- Home Remedies
The below video discusses the above different methods in detail for how to get rid of earwigs.
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Now, let’s talk a bit more in depth about how to get rid of earwigs using insecticides, repellents, and home remedies.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs Using Insecticides
Aerosol insecticides are a popular method to get rid of earwigs.
Insecticides are not always everyone’s first choice when it comes to how to get rid of earwigs. However, depending on the seriousness of your infestation, an insecticide may be the most effective tool.
That said, insecticides can be dangerous and toxic to use in homes with children and pets and should be used with caution.
Are you wondering how to get rid of earwigs using insecticides? We’ve listed a few of our favorite insecticide options below for you to take a look at.
Hot Shot Pest Control Concentrate
If you are wondering how to get rid of earwigs using insecticides, this concentrated insecticide repellent by Hot Shot is strong, effective, and long lasting. However, you will need to read the directions for how to get rid of earwigs and what amount you’ll need to mix with water so it will work effectively.
This product will kill on contact and will keep protecting and repelling insects as well. It uses a strong insecticide, however, and can be harmful to children and pets. This product in particular should be used with caution as it is a concentrated mix meant for dilution with water.
Ortho Home Defense Indoor And outdoor Insect Killer
When looking at how to get rid of earwigs, keep in mind that practically all earwig problems begin outside. For this reason, we recommend an insecticide that works both indoors and outdoors to help eliminate any problems in the home and control any earwig infestations in the yard and garden.
Ortho Home Defense indoor and outdoor spray uses a special wand to help you reach difficult places in the home and also comes in a large container big enough to treat large spaces like backyards and gardens.
The active ingredient is Bitinthrin, which is a powerful insecticide that can be toxic to children and pets and should be used with caution.
Ortho Home Defense Cracks and crevices Aerosol
We also recommend Ortho home Defense Aerosol for cracks and crevices if you are wondering how to get rid of earwigs, especially since we know these insects like to hide out in dark, damp spaces. This insecticide provides a unique want to help you get to hard-to-reach places and eliminate any earwigs hiding out of view.
You can use this insecticide along with other products on this list or on its own if your earwig problem isn’t too severe. Once you do use this insecticide, though, it should continue protecting your home for up to 18 months. You can use this product both inside and out, however it is a chemical insecticide so use it with caution.
Spectracide Triazicide Outdoor Insect Killer
For those of you looking for how to get rid of earwigs outside specifically, many experts recommend Traizicide. This insecticide is specifically designed to control insect infestations in the yard and works to protect against earwigs, fleas, ticks, grubs, Japanese beetles, and more.
This is a strong insecticide that works to kill insects both above and below ground. However, keep in mind it can be toxic to humans and pets and should be used carefully.
Raid Max Fogger
Another effective insecticide we recommend for how to get rid of earwigs is this insect fogger by Raid. It reaches up to 7,000 square feet and helps eliminate all kinds of crawling insects from earwigs to ants, fleas, weevils, roaches, spiders, ticks, and more.
This fogger is specifically designed for those wondering how to get rid of earwigs or other insects that have caused an infestation. However, it should be used with caution as it is a concentrated insecticide using cyplemerthiin, which can be toxic to people and pets.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs Using Natural Repellents
Luckily there are plenty of ways to get rid of earwigs using natural repellents.
If you’re on the fence about using insecticides for how to get rid of earwigs, don’t worry. There are a number of highly effective natural repellent treatments you can use to help you figure out how to get rid of earwigs in your home and garden.
In fact, some of these methods are even recommended and used by pest control experts, like Diatomaceous Earth and Boric Acid.
If you aren’t sure which products would be best for your earwig problem, we’ve got you covered. Below you will find some of our favorite all natural repellents for how to get rid of earwigs in your home and garden naturally.
One of our favorite all natural remedies for how to get rid of earwigs is Diatomaceous Earth. This is an all natural substance that is highly effective in not only killing earwigs, but also getting rid of roaches, bed bugs, spiders, beetles, and other crawling insects.
Diatomaceous Earth uses fossilized algae to penetrate the exoskeleton of insects, which then dehydrates and kills them. By placing this powder around the perimeter of your house you can prevent earwigs from getting in. And, if you’re wondering how to get rid of earwigs in your garden, you’ll be happy to know you can also sprinkle this powder on plants without harming them.
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You can also use pure boric acid, which is another powder insecticide and cleaner many people use when looking for how to get rid of earwigs.
Boric acid is safe to use in homes with children and pets, however it can cause irritation, so use it with caution in the home. That said, this product uses a similar method and dehydrates the earwig and other pests from the inside, killing and controlling them.
You can sprinkle boric acid around the perimeter of your home and around your garden to help eliminate and control earwig problems.
Wondercide Natural Outdoor Pest Control
One of our favorite natural pest control products is Wondercide. This outdoor product not only works on earwigs, but can also protect against mosquitoes, ants, roaches, spiders, and more. Best of all, it is safe to use around children and pets and won’t harm your garden.
Wondercide Natural Pest Control For Indoor Use
Wondercide also makes a pest control spray for indoor use for those of you wondering how to get rid of earwigs inside. This product can be ordered in different scents including cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint. It also won’t stain carpets or fabrics and uses natural ingredients to repel earwigs, roaches, fleas, ticks, scorpions, mosquitoes, flies, beetles, and much more.
You can use this product on and around furniture, around bedding, flooring, in kitchens, and in areas where children and pets play.
Mdxconcepts Organic Pest Control Spray
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This final all natural product designed to help you work on how to get rid of earwigs is an organic pest control spray by Mdxconcepts. You can use this spray both indoors and outdoors to help control earwigs, roaches, spiders and ants.
It uses all natural, organic ingredients and steers clear of chemical insecticides, meaning it is safe to use in the home with children and pets.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs Using Home Remedies
You can use a vinegar, soap and water mix to help kill and repel earwigs in your home.
Along with using insecticides and repellents to help you work on treating your earwig problem, many people also like to make their own home remedies.
In fact, did you know you probably already have natural earwig repellents in your pantry or under your sink? Let’s take a look at how to get rid of earwigs using remedies at home.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs Using Plant Deterrents:
While earwigs can be attracted to certain herbs, they can’t stand the scent of the overwhelming herbs below. You can plant these in your garden to help repel earwigs and other pests.
- Lemon thyme
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs With Natural Ingredients:
Along with certain plants, earwigs are also repellent by a number of home ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Some of our favorite natural ingredients to get rid of earwigs include:
- Petroleum Jelly
Spread petroleum jelly along the stems of your plants in your garden to protect their leaves and petals from hungry earwigs.
- Essential Oils
Essential oils like lavender, basil, citrus, cedar, peppermint, citronella, eucalyptus, and cinnamon can help deter earwigs and other pests.
Simply mix a half ounce of the oil of your choice with a gallon of water, put it in a spray bottle and get to work. You can spray this concoction both indoors and outdoors to help repel earwigs.
- Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is effective for killing earwigs on contact. Simply mix equal parts rubbing alcohol with equal parts water in a spray bottle and spray as needed.
- Vinegar, Dish Soap, and Water Spray
A homemade water, vinegar, and dish soap spray works as a natural insecticide to kill earwigs and other pests in your home. Mix equal parts water and vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray as needed.
However, we do not recommend using this mixture for gardens, as some dish soaps can be harmful to plants.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs Using Home Made Traps:
- Wet Newspaper Traps
Because earwigs are attracted to damp, dark places, you can roll up a damp newspaper and place it anywhere you have noticed earwigs inside or out. Simply leave it overnight and check it occasionally. When you see you have caught a few earwigs, put the newspaper in a sealed bag and dispose of it. Repeat as needed.
- Tuna Can and Oil Traps
Rinse an empty tuna can and fill it part way with vegetable oil. Put it into the mulch or soil of your garden and leave it. The earwigs will crawl into the can and get stuck in the oil.
What Are Earwigs? Facts You Should Know
Earwigs are a common insect found throughout the world.
Earwigs are small, flat insects that are usually dark brown, yellow, red, or amber in color. Nocturnal and reclusive in nature, fearsome to look at, and fascinating to learn about, earwigs are some of the most misunderstood insects around.
Let’s take a moment to learn a thing or two about this interesting, albeit scary looking, pincher bug.
- The name “earwig” derived from a European myth and has led many to believe earwigs will crawl into human ears and lay eggs or (horrifyingly) even burrow into our brains. This is simply not true. Regardless, the name has stuck and the myth lives on.
- Earwigs are beneficial decomposers. They are omnivores, meaning they eat most anything, and help to decompose dead insects and plant matter. They also feed on aphids. That said, in small numbers, earwigs can actually be beneficial to your garden.
- Earwigs don’t pinch unless provoked. In fact, they are typically docile and reclusive, preferring to keep to themselves.
- There are over 1,000 species of earwigs across the world, but just 22 species of earwigs live in the United States.
- Earwigs are great moms. They stay with their eggs until they hatch and some even protect their young until their first molt.
- Did you know earwigs have wings? That’s right. These insects can fly, although they rarely do.
- The most common earwig in the United States is called the European earwig, which was first discovered in the US during the 1900’s.
Are Earwigs Dangerous To People And Pets?
Earwigs aren’t poisonous, but they can pinch and even draw blood.
Earwigs are not poisonous or particularly harmful to people or pets, although in very large numbers they can cause problems to our gardens and even health issues to humans, especially if they get into fruits and vegetables that people eat.
Although earwigs are frightful looking with their huge forceps that protrude from their flat abdomens, they rarely pinch unless provoked. That said, their pinch can hurt and can sometimes even draw blood. If you are pinched by a pincher bug, rinse and clean the area carefully so it doesn’t become infected.
And, as we mentioned above, despite a popular myth and a very unfortunate name, earwigs do not crawl into peoples’ (or pets’) ears and lay eggs. Of course, any insect can unwittingly crawl into someone’s ear, but it’s very unlikely and it’s certainly not the earwig’s MO.
In fact, earwigs prefer to live secluded lives and tend to stay away from people and pets as much as possible.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs – When Should I Call A Professional?
Most earwig problems are easy to remedy, but sometimes a professional is needed.
For the most part, earwig control is relatively easy. However, if you notice you are repeatedly dealing with earwigs in your home or garden and you’ve tried all the above methods, it may be time to call in a professional.
Earwigs reproduce quickly, with female earwigs laying between 30 to 50 eggs at a time. That said, if an earwig problem has gone undetected for long enough, you could be dealing with a large infestation.
You should also keep in mind that an overrun of earwigs in your home could be a sign of another issue, like leaky pipes or a rodent problem. For that reason, along with calling a professional exterminator, you may also want to do a thorough maintenance check on your home.
Once you have figured out how to get rid of earwigs in your home and garden, the next important steps you should take are preventative.
Let’s talk about some of the best ways you can keep your home free of earwigs in the future.
Tips On Preventing Future Earwig Problems
Help prevent future earwig problems by implementing some routine practices in your home and garden to repel them.
While earwig control is, for the most part, pretty simple, these insects can get out of hand and reproduce quickly.
Most experts agree that the best method to getting rid of earwigs is to avoid them in the first place.
Here are a few expert tips and tricks to help keep your garden and home earwig-free.
- Invite natural predators
Frogs, toads, birds, and newts are all natural predators of earwigs. If you want to help keep them under control in your yard and garden, try making it more habitable to these types of animals.
- Caulk and seal all entry and exit points
Earwigs cannot become a problem in your home if they can’t get in. Along with putting down protective barriers of Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth, you should also make sure you caulk and seal entry and exit points, mend ripped screens, and make sure doors and windows are shut tightly, especially at night.
- Plant deterrent plants in your garden
Plant deterrents, as we discussed above, can help keep earwigs from infesting your garden. Best of all, most of the plants that deter earwigs also deter other insects like mosquitoes, beetles, ants, roaches, and more, which further eliminate the earwig’s food sources.
- Vacuum and clean often
Keep your home clean and earwig free by cleaning and vacuuming. Earwigs are scavengers and will eat what is available, so if you are constantly picking up any food crumbs, debris, or dead insect and plant matter, they will find your home to be less hospitable.
- Keep wood, leaves, mulch, and debris at least 12 inches from your home’s foundation.
Landscaping and keeping piles of wood, debris, mulch, shrubs, decorative stones, and more clean and tidy will help keep earwigs at bay. Also make sure not to leave any earwig hiding spots like woodpiles, mulch, canisters, stones, etc, touching your property.
- Routinely clean gutters, drains, and waterspouts
Remember, earwigs like damp, dark places and eat decaying plant and insect matter. A gutter, water drain, or waterspout is often filled with damp dead plant material and dead insects, which is basically a buffet for earwigs if left unattended.
- Ensure you fix and dry water leaks in your home asap
Last but not least, if you do notice a water leak in your home, make sure you get it fixed and dried as soon as possible. Leaving water leaks unattended can lead to a serious infestation of earwigs.
We hope you’ve gotten a few ideas on how to proceed forward with earwig control in your home and garden! Remember, following these tips and using these tools can help keep your house free of these unwanted pests.
Best of luck!
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.