How to Get Rid of Earwigs in Your Home and Garden

How to Get Rid of Earwigs in Your Home and Garden

One of the creatures in my garden that does give me the willies is earwigs. Those pincers on their rear end scare me, and I’ve heard they can fly into your ears if for some reason you get them near there- but it’s just an old wives tale! Earwigs rarely fly, and even when they do, don’t worry about these insects getting inside your head because all this nonsense with eggs in brains is unfounded: They are harmless bugs dwelling peacefully outside among flowers like myself.

What are Earwigs?

Earwigs are Dermoptera insects, and there is a total of 2,000 species. They live on every continent minus Antarctica, where they were thankfully never recorded before. Unfortunately for us in the US, we only have to deal with 25 of those earwig species out there, which isn’t too bad considering our country’s size compared to that other place without any problems nearby!

Earwigs are nocturnal, and during the day, they hide in crevices, bark, mulch, leaf litter, or logs. This is why most people only see them when disturbing their hiding place; however, earwig bodies are flat to fit into a space to avoid being seen by predators such as birds or frogs. They have two wings but rarely use them because their body shape is best for fitting into tight spaces rather than flying from one perch to another!

One interesting fact about earwigs is that, unlike other insects, females care for their young. They dig holes in the ground during fall and winter, where they lay 30 or more shiny white eggs, which turn brown when ready to hatch after a week of incubation. The mother feeds her young by regurgitating food she has ingested from hunting prey at night while guarding them against predators. After molting two times, these little bugs will leave the nest and hunt as adults, with only 10 weeks needed before maturing into adulthood!

Earwigs are gross little bugs who will eat anything, and they’re not picky about what it is- even aphids! They can get into your house and make a mess of everything. Luckily most people use pesticides or traps to keep them out!

Use Traps

Many gardeners fear earwigs, but they are a great addition to your gardening experience. Earwig traps can be used when the population of these bugs starts getting out of control, and you need them gone fast! These 12-inch pieces will allow them in because it provides that extra small space they like, so check on the trap every morning before those pesky insects come out from hiding.

Do you feel guilty about killing bugs? The quick and easy way to avoid this is by using low-sided tuna or pet food cans. Fill them with ½ of an inch oil, sink the traps in your yard up to their edges, and add a few drops of bacon grease for extra appeal. Bugs will be attracted into these deathly containers where they’ll drown within hours; then, all that’s left is emptying the trap each morning!

Use Borax

Here’s a tip for woodpile owners that you won’t find in any book: sprinkle borax around the pile to keep earwigs out. Earwigs are nocturnal creatures and come out during the day when they can stay hidden under your piles of leaves or logs. It’s not harmful, but it is good practice to protect pets and small children from coming into contact with this chemical at all times until you finish sprinkling on new powder-covered areas near them (the only time I would recommend touching without gloves).

Use Poultry to Eat Earwigs

One way to get rid of earwigs is by letting chickens eat them! Chickens are natural hunters and will quickly sniff out the earwig. If you don’t have a chicken or duck, create an enclosure in your garden with some old wire fence that they can crawl under for protection from predators like birds or frogs (which also love eating insects!). You could even invite a toad into your yard if you want because it’s not only good at eating bugs, but it may help provide some insect control too since beetles sometimes make their homes on rocks near water sources where many people live.

Vacuum Up Thrips Indoors

Many insects come into your home during the cold winter months. Earwigs, in particular, find their way inside for warmth and food sources. If you want to keep them out of your house this year (or any time), then there’s one simple solution: vacuum up those earwigs! It might seem gross at first, but it really is worth getting over how they look because once they’re all dead or gone from sight, I always feel better about my living space, knowing I can finally relax again without having to worry about being eaten alive by pesky bugs every day when I’m just trying to enjoy a good book on the couch after a hard day’s work-life balance hustle.

Keep Your Yard and Garden Free of Debris

Clearing away debris in your yard and garden is an important way to keep earwigs out of your home. The best way to do this is by removing any dead plant material from the premises, raking mulch away from the foundation of your house, or creating a strip around your vegetable garden that has no obstacles for insects like these creatures love hiding under during daylight hours. Leave some bare soil which makes it less attractive for them!

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Why Do I Have Earwigs in My Apartment or Home?

Earwigs in your home or apartment? Fear not; this is something most people will have to deal with at some point. The reason for their presence can be accidental- from human activity such as carrying firewood into the house-or intentional when they escape inclement outdoor conditions and find refuge inside a building where it’s safe and warm.

How Did They Get Inside?

The earwig is a pesky pest that enters homes through the most minuscule of cracks. Some common entry points for these pests are around poorly sealed doors and windows, in crevices where foundations meet siding, or up from the ground via access doorways leading to crawl spaces—even into structures as we move things inside our home! They make their way indoors with bundles of newspapers, boxes, lumber books, plants, etc., which were moved inside your house during remodeling projects like DIY home improvement. You can trap them without using chemicals by placing bucket traps outside near areas they’re getting in one inch below foundation level at night when it’s cool out (in weather under 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

The infestation of earwigs in the home seems to be rising. Earwig eggs can easily survive cold weather, so they might have been brought into homes accidentally when people moved boxes from a damp garage or storage shed and thought their plant pots were bug-free.

Weather Conditions

Do you have a fear of earwigs? Try not to worry. They are only entering your living space looking for warmth, protection from the winter weather, or moisture and cover if conditions outdoors become inhospitable. If they enter seeking shelter when it is already cold outside, all that means is a little company on those long chilly days without pesky bugs!

Earwigs do not typically prefer to thrive in our space. Still, these insects can come into our apartment or house through human activity or lack of good maintenance via screens, doors, or conditions leading to excessive moisture.

Signs of Earwigs

Earwigs are nocturnal insects seeking cool and damp environments. They live and eat outdoors, thus making indoor encounters rarer and infestations unlikely. A few signs that might indicate the presence of earwigs:

  • Foul smell: Earwigs can produce a yellowish-brown secretion when scared or crushed. This strong scent can be an indication of the bug’s presence.
  • Night lights: Earwigs like to come out at night to search for food. This would be the ideal time to find them. Some species of earwigs are attracted to bright lights, so a location that harbors bright illumination could be a good place to start looking for them.
  • Dead plants and leaves: Earwig’s preferred food source is dead and dying vegetation. The most common place to find earwigs is in the garden and any leaf piles, as they benefit from protection and food in one location.
  • Cold and moist locations: Earwigs are sensitive to dry and hot air. They look for cool and moist environments to hide under and live in. In the house, the basement where the air is colder, and there is a higher susceptibility to leak and water build-up are likely for earwigs to hide out in.

There are quite a few natural and chemical solutions to get rid of or kill earwigs in the home and garden to get rid of or kill earwigs. With a few different earwigs common to the US, here are a few remedies to get rid of the pesky pincher bugs.

  • Dish soap and water: Mix dish soap and water to spray down areas where you have found earwigs crawling.
  • Rubbing alcohol and water: Mix rubbing alcohol and water together to spray at earwigs onsite. This method can be used to kill earwigs immediately.
  • Boric acid powder: Found at most hardware stores, boric acid is a treatment you can apply to those out-of-reach areas to kill earwigs that crawl near it. Warning though, this treatment should be kept away from areas near pets or infants, as it can be harmful.
  • Light traps: Earwigs are attracted to bright lights when they scurry around at night. Use the dish soap and water method above, this time filling a small bucket. Point a bright light at the bucket and leave it out to attract and kill nearby earwigs.
  • Oil and soy sauce traps: Combine olive oil and soy sauce in a small container and place them in a location near where earwigs have been found. Earwigs will be attracted to the smell and climb into the liquid where they will drown.
  • Earwig pesticide: Purchase a pesticide to cover the areas where earwigs have been spotted. Various pesticides that will be effective against earwigs include Sevin, malathion, pyrethrins, and diatomaceous earth. These methods are particularly effective for earwigs outside the home.
  • Vacuuming: For those pesky earwigs in the house and garden, a safe and easy removal method is to vacuum up any earwigs you come across. Look for any signs of earwig eggs to prevent further population. After use, look to dispose of the vacuum bag or empty it into a bucket of water and soap as mentioned above to drown any found earwigs.

How to Prevent Earwigs in the Future

Once you have removed all the earwigs found in and around your home, make sure that they don’t come back. Here are some tips to prevent earwigs from returning to your premises.

  • Window screen holes: If you have any windows that use a screen for protection, make sure they are fully intact. Cover and repair any holes in the window screens to eliminate a potential location where earwigs could enter the home.
  • Fill house cracks and holes: Check the foundation around your home, especially those near the entrances. Fill any cracks and holes in the house with caulk so that the pincher bugs can’t find those small crevices in the home.
  • Fix leaky drains and pipes: Earwigs look for cool and moist locations to scavenger and live. Look throughout your home for any pipes or drains that might be leaking. Fix these dripping hot spots to help eliminate the earwig’s ideal environment.
  • Remove leaf, stone, and woodpiles: Earwigs prefer a natural home outdoors with a quality food source and protection. Remove piles of leaves, stone, and old wood that make a safe home for earwigs.
  • Keep vegetation away from home: If you have any mulch, dead leaves, or vegetation, attempt to keep that away from the home’s foundation. This is the ideal food source and living space for earwigs; keeping it away from the house will help lower the possibility of earwigs moving into the home.
  • Clean gutters and drainpipes: Make sure to fully clean your gutters and point drains multiple feet away from home. Backed-up gutters that create wet spots near and against the house are perfect for earwigs to travel to.
  • Tree and bush trimming: Get rid of overly shady and damp areas by trimming back the trees and shrubs in your yard.
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Earwig Exterminators

If you come across an earwig infestation where large numbers are present, or you keep having to remove earwigs week after week, call the professionals and hire an exterminator to evaluate the situation and determine the best solution to removing those pesky pests. Expect the effort to take time and happen over multiple weeks. Pest control isn’t something that happens in one day, as it often requires persistence and continued effort to effectively remove earwigs from the comforts of your home and yard.

How to Get Rid of Earwigs Naturally

Earwigs are one of the most misunderstood insects, misunderstood due to the false belief that they get into a person’s brain through the ear, hence the name. In actuality, earwigs are neither dangerous nor do they get into the brain; they are just crawling insects that are attracted to fruit and vegetables and, in the process, make their way into your home. Following are some tips on how to get rid of earwigs naturally.

Step 1: Keep Away from Green Plants

Stay clear of plants and vegetables in your garden that hold a special attraction for earwigs. These insects tend to congregate in great numbers there, and if you happen to pick up that particular plant, they will get inside your home, causing destruction. Avoid overwatering the plants in your garden because earwigs like moist and damp places and conditions encourage their growth. Also, spray soapy water on those plants that are close to your house to discourage earwigs.

Step 2: Use Vapor Lights

At night sodium vapor lights are better than bright white lights for earwigs because white lights attract the rest of the earwigs. White lights are acceptable if you want to catch the earwigs. Place a bowl of soapy water under the white lights, and the earwigs will fall into the bowl and drown.

Step 3: Trap Earwigs in Newspapers

Since earwigs like moist places and vegetable oil, try dampening a newspaper and rolling it up. Add drops of vegetable or fish oil in the newspaper and keep it where you know the earwigs will crawl into it. Soon after crawling into these newspapers, they get stuck and cannot crawl back out, eventually dying.

Step 4: Dry Out Moist Areas in and Around your House

Deal with all the moist areas in your house. Go all around your house and check out places like fountains, ponds, or just general moist patches and dry them out. Remember, earwigs are attracted to moist and damp areas, and once dry. They will move away.

Step 5: Apply Boric Acid

The boric acid powder is a natural insecticide that is easily available and effective at killing all bugs. Spread the boric acid evenly over all the suspect areas like windows fittings and doors, cracks, and baseboards. These insects digest boric acid, and then it swells up in their stomachs, killing them fast. Killing with boric acid is quick and easy, provided you take extra care if you have children or pets in your house. Make sure you put the powder in places where the children or pets can’t get to it, like under or behind furniture.

Step 6: Keep a Clean House

Once the earwig menace is tackled, make sure they don’t come again. If you clean your house thoroughly, checking every nook and cranny, chances are you will not have any problem with earwigs revisiting your home. Vacuuming is a great help in getting into difficult areas and removing earwigs hiding under furniture and boxes. Good luck!

Outsmart earwigs in-house and out

Taking extreme measures for earwig control is rarely necessary. Still, it doesn’t hurt to learn how to get rid of earwigs (or pincher bugs, a name used in certain regions). Just remember, treatment methods are always best handled and applied by professional service technicians.

‟Earwig control should be carried out wherever this pest becomes numerous. Pest management options range from partial control (physical methods) to near-complete control (extensive insecticide application program). Both physical (crushing) and chemical methods can be used inside or outside of the home. Select the method or combination of methods best suited to your circumstances. For serious infestations, contact a commercial pest control operator.”

The University of California at Davis Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) adds, ‟Keep in mind that earwigs are omnivores and are beneficial in some situations, such as when they feed on aphids and don’t need to be managed in (all) situations.” Here’s what you need to know about removing earwigs in and around your home.

How to kill earwigs on your property

Entomologists at Utah State University give excellent advice about earwig removal and control, saying:

‟For earwig control, focus on the outside of the home where populations increase during spring and summer. To reduce their entry into your home, create a clean, dry border using gravel or stone immediately around the foundation wall. Eliminate hiding places near the foundation such as groundcovers, climbing vines, weeds, thick mulches and vegetation, and piles of debris, leaves, or wood. Earwigs hide under mulches in plant beds during the day, so be sure to select mulches with smaller-sized particles to reduce refuges.

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Seal cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and cable holes in walls. Apply insecticides … around the foundation, flowerbeds, and turf within several yards of the home. In late spring to early summer, suppress earwig populations by targeting sites where they congregate (where females brood their young) and plants when the injury appears.

Apply an effective insecticide in the late evening, just before earwigs come out to feed. Recommended insecticides include permethrin, esfenvalerate, bifenthrin, pyrethrins, carbaryl, malathion, azadirachtin, and diatomaceous earth. Use enough water in the application to cover plants and carry the chemical into the top layer of soil or mulch where earwigs hide. Not all insecticide products are registered for edible plants. Read the product label carefully before making an application.”

After uncontrollable hiding areas have been eliminated, the UC IPM explains how to get rid of earwigs using traps, advising:

‟A key element of an earwig management program is trapping. Place numerous traps throughout the yard, hiding the traps near shrubbery and ground cover plantings or against fences. A low-sided can, such as cat food or tuna fish can, with 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom makes an excellent trap. Fish oil such as tuna fish oil is beautiful to earwigs, or vegetable oil with a drop of bacon grease can be used. These traps are most effective if sunk into the ground, so the top of the can is at the soil level. Dump captured earwigs and refill cans with oil.

Other common types of traps are a rolled-up newspaper, corrugated cardboard, bamboo tubes, or a short piece of hose. Place these traps on the soil near plants just before dark and shake accumulated earwigs out into a pail of soapy water in the morning. Earwigs can also be dropped into a sturdy plastic bag and crushed. Continue these procedures every day until you are no longer catching earwigs.”

Washington State University expands on this method of getting rid of earwigs, saying:

‟Quickly remove the cover of a hiding place, and then either physically destroy the earwigs or rapidly spray the area with a suitable pesticide. On tree trunks, wrap corrugated cardboard around them to collect earwigs as they travel from the ground to tree branches. At a suitable time (when they have collected inside the cardboard), remove it from the tree and physically destroy the earwigs.”

How to get rid of earwigs in my house

Getting rid of earwigs indoors requires a different approach, as pointed out by the UC IPM program:

‟Earwigs may seek refuge indoors when conditions outside are too dry, hot, or cold. Large accumulations of earwigs can be annoying but present no health hazards. Sweep or vacuum them up (be sure to kill and dispose of them promptly so they won’t reinvade) and seal entry points. Earwigs eventually die indoors because it is little for them to eat.”

They go on to say:

‟Insecticide treatments indoors aren’t recommended since they will do little to prevent invasions.”

If you are set on using insecticides to get rid of earwigs inside your home, heed the advice of Washington State University entomologists, who warn:

‟Use a cyfluthrin-containing pesticide registered for indoor home use. Apply according to the directions, and only in areas where earwigs have been seen, and physical control has only been partially successful.”

The easiest way to get rid of earwigs is to call Terminix® and get a free pest estimate to keep you and your family safe, especially during an earwig infestation.

Natural Methods for Getting Rid of Earwigs

Earwigs, also called pincher bugs, are small reddish-brown insects. They have a set of pincers at their rear end to use for defense. Earwigs are scavengers that feed on organic debris. They are commonly found in the garden and can get into your home. Earwigs may try to pinch you, but they cannot sting you or hurt you. You can control earwigs without using harsh chemicals.

Earwig Traps

Make your own earwig traps. Tightly roll damp newspaper, securing it with rubber bands, twist ties, clothespins, or other suitable means. In the evening, place the roll in the area that you have seen the earwigs. They are attracted to dampness and will enter the newspaper only to become unable to find their way out. Discard the newspaper roll containing the trapped earwigs in the morning. Seal the trap in a plastic bag before discarding it.

Earwig Spray

Mix an earwig spray repellent from household products. Add 2tbsp. Of baking soda to an 8-oz. spray bottle filled with water. Shake well. Add 1 tsp of dish-washing soap. Spray the repellent around plants, light fixtures, and door frames to keep the earwigs away. You can also create a spray repellent from a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar.

Bury cans half full of beer in or near your garden. Bury it deep enough that the top of the can is even with the ground. The earwigs, attracted to the scent of beer, will fall in the can and drown.

Sticky Trap

Make a sticky trap to trap the earwigs. Cover a piece of cardboard with duct tape, sticky side up. Place the cardboard under couches, tables, or anywhere you are bothered by earwigs. The insects will crawl across the trap and get stuck. Dispose of the entire trap, earwigs and all!

Seal Entrances

Earwigs often enter your home through doorways and areas near your foundation. Inspect your home for any gaps that they can enter through. Seal gaps near water pipes, baseboards, and windows to prevent them from entering your home. Install a rubber door seal to keep them from coming through the front door.

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