How to Get Rid of Earwigs ( 7 Best Earwig Repellent)

Despite their intimidating pincers, earwigs are not as destructive as they might appear. These insects, while hungry, do not feast on human hair or ears as their name might suggest. Instead, they tend to inhabit yards, where they feed on plants, dead leaves, and mulch.

What Are Earwigs?

Earwigs are part of a diverse group of insects, with over 1,500 species globally and about 20 species found in the United States, according to the pest control company Orkin. They vary in size, typically ranging from one-fourth of an inch to two inches in length.

During dry weather, earwigs often seek moist areas indoors. Many species have wings but are not adept flyers, preferring to stay close to the ground. While an earwig can pinch if handled, they do not inject venom or break the skin. Some species can release a foul-smelling liquid as a defense mechanism.

Why Do Earwigs Invade Your House?

Earwigs are primarily outdoor insects, favoring moist environments such as gardens, where they hide in cracks, under rocks, logs, and mulch during the day. They are nocturnal and attracted to light, which may lead them to your porch or deck on summer evenings.

When the weather changes, especially during dry spells, earwigs may venture indoors to find moisture. Common indoor locations include kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas. While earwigs can enter other parts of the home, they rarely cause infestations like other pests. They prefer gardens, where food is abundant. Unfortunately, this means they can damage plants and flowers, making it necessary to remove them from your garden.

Signs of Earwigs

Earwigs seek out cool and damp environments, such as under paving stones, tree bark, dead logs, soil cracks, or deep inside flowers. While they are unlikely to infest your home, you might occasionally see a few inside.

Signs of earwig presence include a foul smell, attraction to bright lights, dead plants and leaves, and cold, moist locations.

How to Find Earwigs in Your Home

Although earwigs prefer cooler environments, they can still enter your home. They can crawl through cracks, gaps, and holes, so it’s important to check poorly sealed doors and windows, unscreened vents, and doors leading to crawl spaces.

Additionally, earwigs can be accidentally brought inside hidden in bundles of newspapers, boxes, lumber, books, and plants. Since they are attracted to light, they might also be drawn indoors from outside habitats.

How to Find Earwigs in Your Garden

Earwigs in your garden are generally not harmful unless there is an infestation. They are omnivores, and a significant infestation could damage your plants. You can usually find them in damp garden mulch, under rocks, beneath wood piles, and other debris.

How to Control Earwigs

If you notice an infestation of earwigs in your garden, it’s important to address it before they cause significant damage to your plants. Here are several methods to control earwigs:


Outdoor insecticides containing sevin, malathion, pyrethrins, or diazinon can be effective. Test a small amount on a single leaf before treating your entire garden. Apply treatments in the evening before earwigs begin feeding.


Simple traps include placing a piece of wet cardboard in your garden to attract earwigs or using a sticky barrier like tape to trap them before they climb plants.

A bright light near these traps can increase their effectiveness. Once trapped, dump the earwigs into a bucket of soapy water to kill them.

Natural Methods

For a more natural approach, use organic substances like boric acid and diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle these in your garden or other areas where earwigs are present. Ensure that children and pets are not around when applying these substances.

Effective Methods to Eliminate Earwigs

Earwigs, while not as destructive as termites or carpenter ants, are still unwelcome pests. Here are several effective ways to get rid of them:

1. Maintain a Tidy Yard

Earwigs thrive on dying vegetation. By keeping your yard free of dead leaves and other debris, you can disrupt their habitat and force them to scatter. If you notice earwigs on your plants, you can create a simple solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Spray this mixture directly on the affected plants to deter earwigs.

2. Attract Birds

Birds are natural predators of earwigs. Adding birdhouses or birdbaths to your garden can attract birds, which will help control the earwig population.

3. Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous Earth is an effective, natural insecticide that works best in dry soil. Sprinkle DE around the base of plants or any areas where earwigs are present. For areas near food, use food-grade DE to ensure safety.

4. Set Traps

There are several ways to trap earwigs, particularly during their active nighttime hours. One method is to fill a bucket with soapy water and shine a light over it. The earwigs will be attracted to the light and will fall into the water.

5. Utilize Common Household Ingredients

Several household items can be used to combat earwigs:

Rubbing Alcohol and Water: Mix these in a spray bottle and spray directly on earwigs to kill them on contact.

Olive Oil and Soy Sauce: Create a trap by mixing these ingredients in a container and placing it where earwigs are active. The earwigs will be attracted to the smell, fall in, and become trapped in the liquid.

6. Vacuum Regularly

Using a vacuum, especially a handheld one, can help you remove earwigs from both your home and garden. After vacuuming, ensure you immediately discard the vacuum bag or empty the canister into a bucket of soapy water to kill the trapped earwigs.

7. Apply Pesticides

Pesticides containing malathion, pyrethrins, or sevin are particularly effective against earwigs. If you’re unsure about how to safely apply these insecticides or if they are suitable for indoor use, consider testing a small area first or hiring a professional exterminator.

How to Prevent Earwigs

Preventing earwigs from invading your space is the best line of defense. Here are some effective strategies to keep these pests at bay:

Fill in Cracks and Crevices

Inspect your home thoroughly to identify and seal any potential entry points for earwigs. Pay special attention to cracks in the foundation, gaps around windows, and holes in window screens.

Repair Leaky Pipes or Drains

Earwigs thrive in moist environments. Ensure that you eliminate any sources of moisture by repairing leaking pipes or drains in your yard.

Maintain a Tidy Yard

Earwigs are attracted to damp, shady areas. Keep your yard tidy by trimming overgrown trees and bushes. Although mulch is beneficial for your garden, it can also be a hiding spot for earwigs. Avoid placing mulch directly against the foundation of your house, and clear away dead leaves, wood, and stone piles.

Clean Out Gutters and Drainpipes

Clogged gutters and drains can create moist environments that attract earwigs. Regularly clean your gutters and ensure that your drainpipes direct water away from your foundation to reduce the risk of infestation.

Earwig Repellent

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