How to Get Rid Of Earwigs


There’s nothing more maddening than spending great time and effort growing your garden of vegetables and fruits just to find out that it has been invaded by pests and critters.

If you have noticed some hideous reddish, brown bugs feasting on your vegetables, fruits, or flowers, there’s a good chance that they are earwigs.

Also referred to as ‘pinching bugs’ or ‘pincher bugs’, these tiny brown critters love dining on fruits, fungi, vegetation, and other organic materials.

They are the worst because the females can lay up to 60 eggs at a time. Once the eggs are hatched, you now have a full-blown earwig infestation on your hands.

Lucky for you, we are here to help! For this post, we will highlight some of the best methods on how to get rid of earwigs.

What is an Earwig?

An earwig can range in size from ¼ to an inch long. Earwigs have elongated and flattened bodies that can vary in color from pale brown to reddish-brown. They have six legs and a threadlike antenna which is about as long as half of their body length.

However, the most notable feature of earwigs is their pincers that come out from the back of their abdomen. They also have front and hind wings.

Earwigs have body parts that feature a leathery appearance. Earwigs can fly but only in short bursts, and not all species can fly.

Which Crops and Plants Are Earwigs Most Attracted to?

Before you can hope to get rid of earwigs, it’s important that you know which types of plants and crops are earwigs most attracted to.

  • Vegetables: potatoes, lettuce, beans, celery, beets, cauliflower, and corn
  • Fruits: strawberries, blackberries, apricot, grapes, plum, and nectarine
  • Flowers: roses, sunflowers, dahlias, daisies, zinnias, marigolds, and butterfly bush

This is by no means an exhaustive list but you should know that if you are growing any of these plants and crops in your garden, it is highly vulnerable to earwig infestation.

Therefore, it’s strongly recommended that you check for infestations on a regular basis. If you see signs like irregular holes on the plants or leaves, there’s a good chance that you are dealing with earwigs.

Recommended Read: How to Stop Rabbits from Eating Your Plants

7 Tips on How to Get Rid of Earwigs

Once you noticed that your garden or yard has been infested by earwigs, one of the first things you should do is to remove your organic mulch if you have them.

These pests love moist places making your mulch an ideal home for them. Removing the mulch will allow the soil to dry making it a less attractive place for these bugs.

Here’s how to get rid of earwigs:

1. Pesticides

Let’s start the list with the good ol’ bug killer. Using pesticides is one of the most effective ways to get rid of earwigs.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of products that can provide excellent results. If you are open to recommendations, it’s hard to go wrong with the LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7%. Nowadays, most earwig control products in the market are odorless.

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These products are also ideal for indoor use. All you need to do is to make a mixture (according to the label instructions) and spray around the perimeter of the structure or any other affected areas. If you are using it indoors, it’s recommended that you make use of a supplemental treatment like a crevice aerosol.

2. Canola Oil Trap

The entomologist Whitney Cranshaw has invented a contraption that can effectively capture these critters.

From his research, he conducted an experiment by testing a variety of oils including canola, vegetable, and mineral for catching earwigs.

By the end of the experiment, it was the canola oil that proved to be the most effective for trapping earwigs, catching over 500 of them in a single night.

He did this by digging a small shallow hole in the soil and putting a small cup of canola oil into the hole. Overnight, the earwigs just fell into the cup and drowned.

This is an excellent method to use if you want a natural remedy.

3. Boric Acid

Boric acid is a natural pesticide that kills most insects on contact including earwigs.

You can get a boric acid powder at your local hardware store or online. To use, sprinkle the powder in spots and crevices where earwigs are likely to crawl through. Apply it in places like cracks and crevices along baseboards, under and behind large appliances, pipes and drains, and more.

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For outdoors, you can sprinkle the powder around woodpiles or in damp corners in your garden.

It works when the earwigs ingest the acid which affects their metabolism and stops them excreting. Eventually, they will die.

It goes without saying that you should make sure that the boric acid powder is far away from the reach of children and pets.

4. Essential Oils

If you have some essential oils lying around, know that some of them can be used as a natural pesticide. We are talking about neem and cedar oil. In fact, these oils are so effective they have been used in commercial agriculture as a substitute for chemical-based pesticides.

Cedar oil works as a pesticide with its aroma. The smell can kill earwigs by causing them to suffocate and suffer from osmotic dehydration.

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Neem oil, on the other hand, works by weakening the functions of the earwig’s hormonal structure. This disrupts the bug’s life cycle by preventing the act of eating and mating.

Get a small spray bottle with water and pour about 15 drops of oil. Spray on the affected area.

5. Natural Predators

This is not the fastest solution for delivering results but it’s definitely a good option if you prefer a long-term solution. Lizards and birds are some of the natural predators of earwigs. The idea is to make your garden or yard to be more attractive for these predators.

For example, you can place rock piles in your garden which is a good way to attract lizards since the rocks can provide cover for them.

If you already have chickens, you can use them to control common household pests including earwigs. You may use a damp newspaper to trap the bugs and hand them over to your chickens for a scrumptious feast.

You can also install a bird feeder or birdbath in your yard or garden which, of course, attracts birds.

6. Vacuuming

This sounds rather off the wall but it’s actually a good tip on how to get rid of earwigs.

As it turns out, earwigs are very easy to vacuum.

If you have a vacuum model with a bag, you can use it in an area where there’s a large population of the insect. Suck up as many of these pesky bugs as you can and be sure to collect the eggs that might be around.

Obviously, you don’t want rotten insects inside the bag so be sure that you dispose of the contents immediately.

Some of the bags will likely be alive inside the bag, so dump the contents into a bucket of soapy water to kill them.

7. Alcohol

Alcohol works as an earwig repellent by acting as a surfactant or wetting agent. Upon contact, the alcohol can penetrate the earwig’s waxy coat of armor and kill it. However, not all alcohol works so forget about pouring a can of cold beer to an earwig infested area.

For this solution, your best bet is to use Ethanol (grain alcohol) since this type of alcohol seems to work best. Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) also works and is readily available but you have to make sure that it doesn’t have additives.

Recommended Read: How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Keep Your Place Earwig Free

And that concludes our guide on how to get rid of earwigs.

Once you have successfully removed these bugs from your home or garden, make sure that you check again regularly because they might return. This is especially true when the weather is colder.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you deal with your home or garden’s earwig problem. If you have any questions about this guide, feel free to comment down below.