How to deal with earwig in the garden, at home and in the garden

Earworm, or pinch, is an insect of the order of the leather-winged, not all species can fly, and those that can, do not often do. Insect prefers to settle in a humid environment, mass settlements can be found near wetlands. The earwig is settling near the agricultural land near the dacha plots.

Earwig: pest description

Earwig is nocturnal, hatching in dark corners with a wet environment during the day. This insect is often confused with the dvuvostok, but these are different insects, the dvukhvostok belongs to the order of the maxillary, although outwardly they are similar.

The insect has wings: short front, without veins, leathery; rear wings with membranes, more developed, with many well pronounced veins. During the flight, the earworm ordinary is held vertically, folding the wings, it places them under the fender. Despite the ability to fly, the insect prefers the ground mode of movement. She has quite strong paws consisting of three segments of gray-yellow color. The length of adult individuals is from 12 mm to 17 mm; males, as a rule, are longer than females. The structure of the earwig’s body is elongated and as if flattened, colored brown on the top and a darker shade on the underside. The shape of the head is heart-shaped, slightly sloping down. The pronotum is located between the trunk and head. Antennae located in front of the head are filiform, long — about two-thirds of the body length. The eyes of the insect are small. At the end of the abdomen at the earwig there are rigid appendages — cerci, resembling forceps or ticks. Despite the frightening look of the earwig thanks to the cerks, she uses them to protect, not attack, and as «tableware» to help keep food.

Did you know? Famous as the place of Napoleon’s imprisonment, St. Helena is home to another celebrity — a giant earwig. In 1798, an insect of 7.5 cm was found. Scientists explain the reasons for such growth by the lack of natural enemies of earwigs.

Features of the earwig life cycle

The type of development of the earwig is called incomplete transformation — for a year the insect lives through all stages of development: an egg, a larva, and an adult. The mating process begins in the fall, the female prepares a place for laying, digs a depression in any wet substrate. This recess also serves as a place where earwigs live in the winter. In winter, the female lays eggs from 30 to 60 pieces. The incubation period lasts from 56 to 85 days, it is interesting that by the end of the egg, absorbing moisture, become two times larger than the original size.

In May, gray larvae appear with a brown tinge about 4.2 mm long. The larvae initially have the same structure as the adults, the only thing that distinguishes them is undeveloped wings, size and color. During the summer, the earwig larva molts four times, changing the skin and color, and by August the individual is already able to mate and produce offspring. The most favorable weather for the development of eggs and larvae is warm and, of course, wet.

Is earwig dangerous?

Earworm, living in the garden, can penetrate into the house in search of food. The insect is small, brisk and able to sneak into any crevice or crack, squeeze through a crevice into a loosely fitting window frame. It is difficult to find it, but it is necessary to get rid of it.

Does a person face danger?

Many are interested in the question: earwig than dangerous to humans. Yes, rather, unpleasant, especially for fastidious people. The well-known myth that the insect is able to climb into the ear, gnaw through the eardrum and eat the brain — this is just a myth. Earwalker will crawl into your ear if you sleep in the garden, putting your ear to the ground. In your bedroom you will not find it, because the feature of earwigs is in the love of high humidity. You can find it in the house in the kitchen, bathroom, toilet, in the garage, if it is attached to the house, but not in the bedroom, where it is dry. In addition, the insect bites, only defending itself, if it happened, treat the bite site with an antiseptic. The worst thing that can happen is inflammation, but if you treat, disinfect the wound, then this is unlikely.

Earwig damage in the garden

An earwig insect feeds on all parts of plants that it is able to gnaw. She eats the leaves of plants, leaving holes on them. Insect gnaws the stalks of grassy plants, eats away the pulp in the trunks of trees and shrubs. On the leaves often remain black points of insect excrement. Earwigs representatives often lodge in farm buildings where grain crops are stored, causing damage to the already harvested and stored crops. In apiaries, the insect also harms, crawling into the hives and eating perga and honey. Insect tweezers feed not only above-ground parts of garden and horticultural crops, but also sap roots of fruit and ornamental plants.

Important! When applying organic fertilizer, such as compost, peat or humus, to the greenhouse, be careful, because there may be an earwig.

Can an earwig harm indoor plants?

In the garden, an earwig does not shy away from ornamental plants, such as poppies, asters, pine trees, dahlias and phloxes. When she gets into the house, she will chew on indoor plants with pleasure. An insect gnaws leaves, stalks and roots, a special delicacy for it — tender parts of a flower, for example, pistils.

How to deal with earwig

Earworm multiplies rapidly and carries a danger to plants, insect control is necessary. First of all, you need to remove stubble, hay, firewood or foliage from the plot, everything that hides a moist environment.

Interesting! Earwigs are well protected: firstly, the cerci are long forceps with which the insect bites the offender and also holds the prey. Secondly, the ability to secrete a liquid with a sharp unpleasant odor, some species have glands that spray acidic liquid.

In the garden and in the garden

It is possible to reduce the number of insects during deep digging for the winter. When an earwig is detected in the garden, insect traps will be effective countermeasures. To lure a large number of insects, a couple of boards with wet leaves and rags are left on the plot. After waiting for some time and waiting for the accumulation of insects, they are watered with boiling water. Poisonous baits can be used: wheat bran with an insecticidal preparation should be left next to damaged fruit.

In the room

It is important to know how to deal with earwigs in the house. First, find all the cracks, crevasses and repair them. Carefully inspect all indoor flowers: insects can hide in pots. Inspect the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where it may be wet; check the pipes for leaks. To entice insects, spread used vinegar soaked with vinegar. But vinegar earwig will not kill, but only expel. Then the earwig might come back. How to deal with it to destroy? Spread the bait with insecticides, mixing them with yolk or bran.

Attention! If there are animals and small children in the house, try to find inaccessible places for baits. In the case of a total invasion of insects, it is better to attract the appropriate services.

Earwig: use in the garden

Earwig brings benefits, no matter how strange it may sound after all of the above. Insect, except for plants, eats invertebrates such as aphids and spider mites. It feeds on both adults and larvae and insect remains. As a wolf is considered to be a forest attendant, an earwig can be called a garden attendant. The insect eats everything indiscriminately, including fallen fruits, damaged by birds or cracked overripe, thereby removing the rot from the site.

Unfortunately, harm from earwigs is more than good, especially with such rapid development and the ability to reproduce. Therefore, in order not to be sad about the insect-damaged plants, it is better to take measures to destroy it.


How to get rid of earwigs in House & Garden- Killers, Traps &Repellents

The presence of earwigs is not an interesting experience. When you have them in your home or garden, the first thing and the most important thing is to device the methods of getting rid of or simply kill them. This piece highlights several ways and approaches that you can use to control an infestation from these insects.

How to get rid of earwigs in my house & Garden

The sub topics below distinctively discuss the steps you can take to remove the bed bugs from your house and the garden.

Earwigs in house and outside

The first thing to do when you want to control the earwigs in your house is to always ensure that you eradicate those ones outdoor. If not, the efforts of eradicating them from your house would be useless.

Earwig on household

According to David J. Shetlar, an entomologist from the Ohio State University, it is more prudent to reduce the stones and any wooden materials outside your house to curb the infestation. Deal with all the moist conditions and air conditioning that could encourage the survival of earwigs.[1]

Below are more measures you can take to control them

  • Keep the warm outdoor lights off. The earwigs are also attracted to warm lights at night. Having them off keeps the pests away.
  • Destroy the earwig nests and eggs. You could use examples of the sea salt and pesticides. This keeps them under control before they make their way into the house.
  • Remove any dead logs from your compound and sweep away the piles of leaves that keep falling from trees.
  • Fill up the cracks and holes that are potential hiding places for the earwigs. Also, ensure that if you have an infestation of centipedes in your compound, you eliminate them. The centipedes attract earwigs.
  • Use a trap that is made from shoebox and molasses. This is an easy and effective method. Under this, you should add a little molasses to the shoe box then poke a few holes on the shoebox around the base. The holes should be large enough to allow the insects to enter. Put some of the molasses into the box and then cover it with a lid. Place the box outside of your house and you will definitely collect a number by morning,
  • Purchase and use the botanical insecticides. These are natural and less toxic compared to the commercial pesticides. They also have shorter half-lives and thus lesser side effects. You can use them as spot treatments or you can spray them around the entire area that is infested.

In my garden on plants

In the garden, carry out the things below:

First, lay one foot sections of bamboo or garden hose in the beds of your plants. Check the progress each morning and dump the earwigs that are trapped. Besides, you could cover the stems of the plants with petroleum jelly. The earwigs are not able to crawl up the trap.

Try sprinkle some borax around an infested woodpile. Ensure your children are out of reach of this because it could be toxic when ingested and could cause a lot of irritation when the chemical gets into contact with the skin.

Use alcohol which is also able to kill the earwigs. It acts as a surfactant or wetting agent which is able to penetrate the coat of the insect and kill it once contact is made. A specific example of alcohol is the isopropanol which also called rubbing alcohol.

  1. Use the alcohol that has 70% strength.
  2. Mix the alcohol with water in equal parts when using 70% alcohol
  3. When using 95% alcohol, mix one part of alcohol with about 1.5 parts of water.[2]

How to kill earwigs and Best Killers

Earwig killers can both be natural or commercial/ chemical killers. The discussion in the following sub topics tries to break down and explain how each works and the benefits that come with its use.

Using the Ortho Bug Geta plus Snail, Slug & Insect Killer

This product kills the earwigs as well as other insects in the garden and your home. It kills the insects directly. You are required to sprinkle it to the affected area and then spread it widely. This will kill the insects far and wide.

You can use this product around the plants, the vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants in your lawn. This product works best in the moist soils.

It is beneficial because it remains active and still works even after it has rained. That is why it can be used to deal with all other insects.

Use the Niban Granular Pest Control Insecticide Bait

This chemical is used to attract earwigs once it is spread out to an area of infestation.

When the insects consume the chemical, the chemical blocks the growth of the microorganism inside the stomach thus making it starve and then finally die.

This product is available in bottles and even granule form. You use the mechanical spreader to distribute the insecticide to wider areas.

You can use it whether inside or outside your house. When you use it at your home, you apply it around the crevices, holes, attics and any small openings.

In the garden, you should apply where the infestation is high. It is beneficial because it can stand the rain and also endure the hot and dry environments. It is also harmless and odorless.

Use Monterey Sluggo Plus

This is a product that is made from natural sources created from bacteria in the soil. This is very easy to use. It has shakers to help in the natural application. It kills earwigs completely when it is used.

You should use this product only outside your house. All you have to do is scatter the product to the area that is affected.

Use it in the gardens, lawns, flowers, vegetables and other non-commercial greenhouses. The benefit of this is that it kills insects of all kinds and it is equally inexpensive and easy to use.

Light Emitting Device (LED) Yellow Bug Light Bulbs

This bulb is able to either kill or repel the earwigs. It makes your house not to be visible to the earwigs whenever they want to access.

You are supposed to leave this light on for the entire part of the night. They are therefore very relevant because the insects come out at night.

This bulb will be able to serve for a very long time of about 25,000 hours. This therefore makes it more reliable and effective and efficient.

It works twice because it scares the insects and then kills the earwigs at the same time. Earwigs perceive light between the wavelength of about 650 and 300 nm.

Because of its high wavelength, the earwigs are not able to see the yellow color

Earwig Traps

Setting up traps for the earwigs could be a very efficient way of dealing with the earwigs. They are active at night and therefore you can capture prevent them from escaping.

Every trap has a unique way of how it works. This is illustrated in the individual discussion of each of the traps below.

How they work and their effectiveness

For you to conclude that a method is effective in the control of earwigs, then it should be able to put to an ultimate end to their movement from the outside into your house.

Traps are reliable and effective because they tend to immobilize the earwigs and thus control their infestation.

The Biocare earwig trap

This is a product that is made from non-toxic materials that kill the earwigs once they crawl on them. Apply the product on or near the surfaces or holes that have earwigs.

It will catch the earwigs and then keep them inside. The benefit is that it is made from very high quality materials that can be reused after the first application. It is also natural and has no toxic effects.

The Trapper Insect Trap

This is glue that is non-toxic and is made to trap earwigs. Besides of its effect of catching, you can also use it to check the severity of the insects in your home. You can use it both as large and small sized traps.

You can attach it to any clean surface because it has a sticky surface on the back side. You can use this trap both in and outside your home and it is very effective.

Being versatile, you can use this product on a number of insects. It is also non-toxic and thus no health hazard implications when used.

Tube trap- DIY at home Earwig trap

People who have used it find it so useful because it utilizes the locally available resources. It is also simple to use. The procedure of making and using would be:

  1. Take a paper and then roll it into a tube with a diameter of about one inch.
  2. Dampen it by dipping it in some water
  3. Put the rolled up and damped paper in a shade probably in the morning
  4. The trap is ready and when the earwigs see it, they will use it as shelter when the temperature outside is unfavorable.
  5. Take the earwig roll and then dispose it.

Earwig Natural Repellents-What do earwigs they hate?

Despite there being some things that attract earwigs to your house, there are some other natural products that scare the earwigs away.

Garlic and pepper spray

It works to prevent the earwigs from feeding on plants that are very useful. One the best sprays would contain for instance some cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of biodegradable dishwashing liquid. The procedure of preparation;

  1. Allow the mixture to steep for about 24 hours and then squeeze solids out and then pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
  2. Carry out a test on some parts of the plant and then monitor the area for about 48 hours before you go ahead and treat the whole plant
  3. Afterwards, spray the mixture around the entire population probably early in the morning. Carry out this process as regular as possible till the earwigs are completely eliminated.

Essential oils

There are a number of essential oils that you can use. For instance, neem oil and neem leaves are effective insecticides when used. It kills the earwigs within a very short period of time. The neem plant could never be infested by the earwigs because of this property.

The neem oil works by getting into the body of the insect and thereafter destabilize the functioning of the hormones of the insect. The wig would stop eating and mating. Consequently, the life cycle would come to an end and then the earwigs end up dying.[3]

The use of cedar cone or oil

This oil has great dehydrating and suffocation g properties to the earwigs. Besides, the oil also is able to emulsify the oil fats of the insect and then kill them.

You can spray your entire house with the oil and then spread out some cedar chippings to your garden and the flower beds.

Sodium lights

These are somewhat much unknown pest control methods that is very effective. Many insects are always attracted to the blue lights. However, sodium lights produces lights that are less blue.

The earwigs will be less attracted to the sodium lights when you have them at home. They thus act as very effective repellants. For that reason, when you have sodium lights at your home, the insects will be scared away from getting into your house.

Other Ways to Prevent & Control Earwig Infestation

There are other methods that you can get rid of the earwigs from your home or garden. Here are some more things you ought to do to control bed bug population.

There are a number of natural methods that you can undertake to deal with the earwigs both in your home and the garden. Here are some of the natural remedies that you can employ.

Use a vacuum cleaner

It is very easy to vacuum the earwigs. It is always important for you to dispose the vacuum bags once you have used them to vacuum your house. This is because the vacuums would smell like the insect when they rot.

Use diatomaceous earth

This is a safe and natural way of handling the earwigs. It is obtained from the shells of fossils. It is not toxic to human and thus works without fear of dangerous effects.

The pieces of the diatomaceous earth has sharp edges and this makes it detrimental to the exoskeleton of the earwigs.

It pierces the exoskeleton and this makes the insect to lose a lot of water from its body. At the end of the day, it gets dehydrated and eventually dies.

You could also apply the earth to the places where the ear wigs live or frequent. Apply it as many times as you can. This powder works best in the dry environments.

Therefore when it rains, ensure you repeat the application because rain could wash away the powder.

Boric acid

This is also one of the most preferred home remedies that are preferred to get rid of earwigs. You could obtain this from your local hardware. The good thing is that this is very harmless to humans and pets but strong on the earwigs.

When the earwigs encounter the earwigs, they ingest in their system and are unable to excrete.

This acid destroys the metabolism of the insect and kills it in a short time. Sprinkling it all around your home is the most effective way to deal with this.

Dish soap

This is a simple and readily available remedy that you can use at your home. It has a great deal of proven effectiveness. It is a cheap, easy to use and readily available remedy.

The working mechanism of the detergents is by breaking down the waxy fats that enclose the skeleton of the earwigs. This leaves the earwigs exposed and susceptible to damages of dehydration.

They will finally die. All you need to do is spray some mixture of the soap suspected to have earwigs. To increase the potency, you could add some vinegar solution.


What Are Earwigs and How to Get Rid of Them

Earwigs (also called pincher bugs) can be found in five out of seven continents except for the poles where it’s just too cold for them. Being called “earwigs”, pincher bugs often induce horror in the minds of people who believe they will crawl into their ear and pinch them. Rest assured – this rarely ever happens. They are generally harmless but are still considered a nuisance pest among Australian homeowners.

So, if you’re seeing earwigs walking around your home, let’s take a look at the pest itself and how to properly get rid of them.

What are earwigs?

Earwigs are from the Dermaptera order and have been around for over 200 million years. This ancient order has walked among dinosaurs and now serves to strike terror into the hearts of homeowners with its minute size and (relatively) big pincers.

Australia offers a fantastic climate for earwigs to grow and thrive. They are plentiful here and can be quite a nuisance, especially during the summer months. Avid gardeners, you can often find them tending to your plants when you’re not looking.

Since earwigs love humidity and dampness, you can almost certainly find them wherever there’s rotten wood (which seems to be a delicacy for them).

Combine that with the fact that darkness is their ally, and it wouldn’t be too inconceivable to imagine why they’ve infested that wooden pile you’ve been meaning to clear out for a couple of years now (we’re not judging, btw).

When they’re not too busy munching on your botanical experiments at night, earwigs maintain a diet comprised of maggots, earthworms, aphids and other insects. Those pincers that look so dangerous are harmless to you, but they’re a handy tool for dispatching smaller, weaker creatures that didn’t have the foresight to escape in time.

Pincher bugs are not territorial, meaning they can share nests which is why they can quickly rise in numbers. Having a hospitable environment is a recipe for disaster.

What do earwigs look like?

Earwigs range between five and 50mm in size depending on their species and are brownish in colour. Their elongated bodies feature big forceps which depending on the gender of the pincher bug they can be bigger (on male earwigs) and smaller (on female ones).

  • Size
    Their size is widely dependent on their species. Earwigs can grow between 5 and 50 mm in size.
  • Wings
    Earwigs have two pairs of leather wings. Despite the fact they have wings, most species do not fly. Those that actually do, usually do it in small bursts more akin to leaps than controlled flight.
  • Forceps
    The forceps (or the pincers) is the part of the earwig’s body that makes it intimidating. But here’s the thing – pincher bugs are lovers, not fighters. The forceps is much more important for mating than it is for biting and pinching. It actually indicates the gender of the bug. Those scary looking ones are probably male – they have longer, curved pincers. The females have shorter, straight ones.

Distribution and habitat

There are only about 85 species of earwigs in Australia (out of over 1800 worldwide, so we assume there’s more yet to be discovered here). Some of them are native and some are introduced.

Even though European pincher bugs are an introduced species, they are quite abundant in numbers, especially when the environment is just right. This species is the most likely to become a garden pest.

Earwigs are most widely distributed in warm, humid climates. Their habitat includes dark and damp environments. They literally live under rocks. They can live in leaf piles during the fall season, inside and under tree trunks, barks, or fallen branches. Your basement is a safe, family environment for earwigs as well. Think about it as a pincher bug suburban area.


The earwig lifecycle begins in the form of an egg, like typical insects. However, what is atypical is the fact that the female looks after the eggs even after they hatch. This is not standard behaviour for solitary insects.

A female can lay 40 to 50 eggs at a time in tunnels she has created and designated for this specific purpose. They take a week to hatch.

Earwigs do not go through a full metamorphosis. When the nymphs are hatched, they resemble an adult, save for a few characteristics. Their pincers are noticeably smaller and more underdeveloped, as compared to the adults. Young pincher nymphs also lack wings and there’s a noticeable line going through their entire heads and bodies where they moult.

Nymphs go through 4 or 5 moults before they reach adulthood. The mother stops caring for them by the third, at which point she might eat them.

What attracts earwigs inside your house?

Like with many other insects, the main offenders are rubbish or food leftovers. If there’s any leftover food that is greasy, sweet, or oily, you can be sure it’s going to attract a lot more than pincher bugs. But they don’t mind sharing.

Throwing organic materials in the rubbish and not disposing of them immediately can also provide a lucrative environment for these little buggers. Finally, any source of cellulose or rotting wood (like boxes in your damp basement). Expect more earwigs inside during dry weather periods as they’re looking for shelter.

Outside in your garden, rocks and debris are their best friend. Wood piles, leaves, or anything that offers darkness and dampness, they can use to settle down and procreate, meaning your garden is about to suffer.

Do earwigs transmit diseases?

Earwigs don’t transmit diseases. They are completely harmless. Their pincers aren’t powerful enough to produce a strong pinch, so don’t worry they can’t cause any harm.

They can bite, but the bites only cause minor irritation. Pincher bugs really look more dangerous than they actually are. Their reputation is mostly made up. The idea that it will do any harm to you is mostly folklore and pure nonsense.

They can cause problems in your garden though.

How is earwig pest control conducted?

General pest control is applied when it comes to earwigs. The pest controller performs an inspection to locate the nest. This would make it easier to kill the eggs, as well. The premises are then sprayed with the treatment which does it’s magic and reduces their populations significantly.

Sometimes, if the nest isn’t located, the eggs survive. This makes earwigs more difficult to control and may require a second treatment.

Hire Professional Pest Controllers

Hire professional pest controllers to deal with the earwig infestation in your home!

Where can you find earwig inside your home?

You can find earwigs inside your home in dark, damp, and cluttered places. Having a source of food would be a bonus. The basement or the kitchen would be the most likely interior habitat for these nasty creatures.

Signs of an earwig infestation

If you find you have more than a few individual pincher bugs, you probably have an earwig infestation, so the sooner you contact us– the better. Because they are not social animals, this would be highly unusual. But it would also be quite unusual to have more than a few individual bugs without having an earwig infestation.

How to prevent an earwig infestation?

Dealing with earwigs at home

  • Tidy your home.
    If you have no clutter and provide no safe environment for them, pincher bugs would have no reason to enter your home and infest it.
  • Stop leaving food lying around.
    If you spill something, clean it up immediately.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
    Remove any leaky faucets in your home. Make sure to check the pipes around the faucets as well.
  • Place a dehumidifier in humid areas or ensure proper ventilation.
    Control the humidity levels in your home. Bathrooms, toilets and rooms without windows all should have a dehumidifier placed in them.

Dealing with earwigs in the garden

  • Declutter your yard and garden.
    Don’t decorate with rocks and other objects that can be used as a hiding place for earwigs. Remove all organic rubbish from your yard. Don’t leave piles of rubble or wood anywhere in the garden. Remove leaf piles.
  • Create earwig traps
    Put part olive oil and part soy sauce in a plastic container, poke a small hole in the lid and bury it in your garden. Change the mixture every few days and adjust if it seems ineffective.
  • Trim your grass regularly.
    Maintain your yard in good condition. Installing a fake turf is also a good way to keep pincher bugs at bay.

From fixing leaky faucets to keeping your garden in pristine condition, Fantastic Services offers in-house services for your home.

Do earwigs go in ears?

There is a common myth that earwigs can infest the human brain through our ears. Some people even believe that’s where the insect got its name. Pincher bugs have quite the reputation, the first recorded source of which originates in the 17th century.

The idea was that earwigs had an unnatural propensity for infesting human ears. A common propose remedy was spitting in the person’s ear until the insect got out.

To this day the belief persists. Along the way, it has evolved to involve an infestation of the brain. Clearly, with basic knowledge of anatomy, you would know how ludicrous the idea is.

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that earwigs get inside people’s ears. The notion that they can somehow get to your brain through your ear is even more ridiculous. The only scientific consensus is earwigs do not harm people. So sleep well!

Image source: Shutterstock/Alonso Aguilar

    Last update: April 17, 2020

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