Posted on: May 15, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 30

Earwig can bring to mind ear hair or the urban legends that say these insects can crawl up our ears and eat our brains. Earwigs, in fact, do not refer to either these two. While they are in fact insects, earwigs are nocturnal insects that feed on other insects and certain types of plants. They are commonly mistaken for cockroaches or beetles. The surest way to identify an earwig is by their distinctive pincer-like tails. While the bite of an earwig can be painful, they are not venomous and do not transfer diseases.

However, it can be pretty understandable for you to not want these creepy-crawlies in your house. Understanding how earwigs work is the key in getting rid of them for good. Here are some ways for you to get rid of earwigs.

Get Rid of Earwig Spots. Earwigs love dark and moist areas, which can explain why you can usually find them hanging around damp newspapers or around the foundations of your house. Earwigs get attracted to the latter precisely because the foundations have a tendency to accumulate moisture. The solution? Throw out your old rotting newspapers, sweep up wet leaves, upturn large loose stones and clean out your foundations. Basically: Clean up everything that’s lying around and serving as earwig homes. Overlaying a border bed of white rocks or pebbles can help keep your foundations dry, help your drainage from accumulating water and make them earwig-free. Make sure your rain gutters and spouts direct away from the foundations of your house.

Check for Cracks. Ever wonder how the darnation earwigs came crawling into your house? Cracks in the foundation, windows and doors are your likely culprit, either through degradation, becoming warped through time or they have always been ill-fitted in the first place. Have your windows repaired and screens re-fitted to avoid this problem. For doors with little cracks or the areas around faucets, you can quickly fix the problem with putty, sealant or have them refitted entirely. Caulk and weather strippings are also very helpful. (Learn how to use silicon caulk)

Make Traps. Since earwigs love cold and damp places, make traps that are attractive to them. Simply take an old newspaper and roll it up loosely, securing it with a rubber band. Soak the newspaper completely in water, but not too much to make it fall apart. Plant the newspaper where you have observed many earwigs are. Leave overnight. Earwigs will have made their home in a newspaper and when they do, put the newspapers (now with the earwigs in them) and put them in a plastic bag, sealing the bag tightly. Throw in the garbage bin. Whatever you do, do not use it for compost.

Another trap that you can do is to get a used low-sided can and fill it with ½ inch of used vegetable oil. Leave the can where earwigs have been observed but where it cannot be accidentally kicked over. You can even put a slice of apple inside to make the trap look more attractive to earwigs. Leave overnight, and the next day, you will see that earwigs have made their way into the can and drowned.

Boric Acid. Boric acid is a substance commonly used to kill insects, but is relatively safe for humans and animals. Apply them in the places where you suspect earwigs commonly pass through or where you have seen earwigs the most. Boric acid will only work if the earwigs pass directly through them.

Invite Predators. Birds are a great predator to most insects, and encouraging them to come in your lawn or garden to stay will have a big impact on your existing earwig population. Install bird feeders and bird baths to make your garden more inviting to birds.

If you don’t mind them, introducing toads in your garden also goes a long way in getting rid of earwigs and other pests.

Vacuum. If you have been lucky enough to zero in on where the earwigs have been hanging out in clusters, bring out your vacuum cleaner. Make sure the dust bag is entry before you start. Be prepared to do a little work because the earwigs will surely scatter in the face of a vacuum cleaner. You should also vacuum the white round eggs of the earwig that you run into.

Sodium Light. Typical fluorescent lights we use in our homes emit a more blue wavelength that are attractive to earwigs. Not only are they attractive but they also show the earwigs how to get into the house. While this may not get rid of the earwigs, installing sodium lights may lessen the earwigs venturing indoors. You can also try reducing the lights you use outdoors as not to attract the attention of the earwigs.

Dishwashing Soap. Add a tablespoon of ordinary dishwashing soap in a gallon of water along with your plant’s fertilizers. Use this mixture to water your plants. Earwigs also like to feed on plant roots, and the dishwashing soap is poisonous to them.

Insecticides. Many earwig-specific insecticides are available in the market today, commonly carrying the chemical pyrethrins, and are typically not harmful to humans and dogs. These insecticides usually come in powder form and are mixed with water, and then sprayed in a six to ten foot radius all around your house, starting from the foundations of your house. You can also use granular insecticide and apply it to the soil in the foundations of your house. The spray can also be used in the little holes that you suspect earwigs are using to gain access to your house. Using insecticide is also recommended to be done after you’ve plugged in the cracks and holes.

Despite earwig pesticides being generally harmless, make sure that you read the instructions very carefully and keep them from animals and children.

Take Out the Trash. Earwigs may be the reason for you to take the trash out regularly. Earwigs love your trash because they can live and feed on it, so make sure you get rid of it as often as possible.

Move Things Around. Earwigs can make their homes in garden furniture and patio chairs, not to mention large jars and potted plants. Make them a little less comfortable by moving your garden furniture around every now and then, exposing parts to the sun. You can also move your pots around and clean their former spots to send the earwigs scuttling. Clean out your jars and overturn your empty pots flat on the ground to discourage earwigs from making their homes there.

Earwigs may seem daunting at first, but combined methods are more likely to bring success. Chemical solutions should be saved for last, and lastly, if you can’t do it on your own anymore, you can always call for professional help.

 Click here for more information about how to get rid of ear wigs

30 People reacted on this

  1. At the end of Autom I buy 4 boxes of 20 Mule Team Boraz and pour a line completely around the outside of our house. It keeps Cave Crickets from coming into the basement when the temperature gets cold. Now I’ll do this Again in the Spring to keep the Ear Wigs out. Thanks for telling us about the Borax. I may start using it to clean the kitchen and bathroom floors from now on.

  2. We purchased bags of cedar chips at the local pet store. We placed hobo bags behind furniture and under, wherever we could. We also intend to sprinkle it in our crawl space since we do not have a basement. Since we brought the cedar into the house we have not seen any earwigs or big black ants The ants would come when rain is coming, but they seem to be gone for some time now. We will see if it works. The cedar has a nice fresh smell, and is not harmful to humans or pets. We’ll let you know how it works in a week or so. We have sprayed outsidewith pesticide, but have to re-spray every time it rains. We have lots of trees here too so we’ll see. We will try the borax next if this doesn’t work.

  3. I’ve been seeing so many earwigs in the last week, I have to wonder if they really don’t establish themselves inside. Last night, I didn’t see a single earwig until after 9:00pm. Then, between that time and 12:00am, I found and removed 20 earwigs.

    I’m going to try the recommendations found here. Oddly, the terminix people say they have never heard of this and are baffled. I have a house in a relatively new subdivision (5-years) with a slab foundation.

  4. i hate earwigs i just moved and they are everywhere it makes me mad i dont know how to get rid of them i need help

  5. I’ve been just flooded with earwigs in my garden this summer. I started to get really annoyed when I kept finding them around the house. I found out that they were getting in via my laundry. As my clothes are on the line drying, they climb in by the bunch, make nests, then I come along at the end of the day, collect the laundry, and take it indoors. big mistake. My suggestion is to be mindful of your laundry, and too shake it out before in goes in to the house. I like the suggestion of giving the infested one’s a quick run through with the vaccume, that will take care of any eggs. Thanks.

  6. The idea of attracting birds to your yard in hopes to go after the earwigs is nonsense. My experience with earwigs is that they are most active when it’s dark. They almost never come out during the day. With that said, birds can’t see them therefore they can’t eat them. Diatomaceous earth or boric acid will not stop them. The earwigs will find a way around them. I covered my entire house with both products for a period of 2 months with no avail. It looked like it had snowed inside and outside my house because of the abundant white products. Guests had this bizarre look on their face when they visited.
    After 2 months of the nonsense of the natural approach to this problem, I called a pest control company to see if they can do something. They charged me a lot of money but I was assured that they will get rid of them. 8 months have gone by and the earwigs still rule. The pest control company said that they can only control them but cannot eradicate them. Well, their efforts did not even control them, the earwigs just kept coming. I got on line and ordered something called “Timbor” and I am spraing this stuff every week at night when the earwigs are most active. This method is working to control the earwig population. THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOMETHING OUT THERE THAT WILL PERMANANTLY GID RID OF THEM. If anyone knows of any product or ways to permanently get rid of the little buggers you can contact me via email Thank you.

  7. I had alot of earwigs behind my squirrel feeder which was hanging on the tree. I flooded the tree and the base of the tree with dawn detergent and water. I hope that takes care of them. I also gave up on feeding the squirrels in something attached to my tree.

  8. We moved into a new neighbourhood and have had problems with earwigs this summer too (nothing at our previous house.) They make our patio furniture/chair pads their home and every time we wnat to sit outside we need to shake out the chair pads and stomp the umbrella stand. They come out by the droves, and drive us nuts. My neighbours said that the earwigs have been getting worse in the last couple of years – prior they had no problem with them. Plants are affected too. I’ll definitely try vacuuming the chair pads and put some boric acid around the furniture. Fortunately, no issues indoors – and I’ll make note of the laundry tip so that we’re not bringing anything inside from the clothesline. My neighbours say that they’ve tried all kinds of stuff – store-bought, home made – and nothing seems to make a real difference. In the meantime, I’ll keep stepping on each and every one that I see… I may become a professional tap dancer by the end of the summer… Thanks for all the tips.

  9. I have many earwigs in my garage so I vacuumed them up. I will put boric acid powder between the studs to help. But I see I have many earwigs in my garden as well. They are all over the plants and the roots. Is there something I can put in the garden that is not harmful to spray on my vegetables?? I’m new to gardening and composting. I’ve also noticed they’ve invaded my compost barrel. I have my barrel up on blocks off the ground but off course it has holes in it to hasten the composting. My compost barrel is not near the garden. Pls give me all your suggestions.

  10. I getting fed up!!!!!’ these things are in my bed. They are crawling near and under my pillows and they wake me up at night like they just did now!!!!!! I told my spray guy he sprayed and it worked at first. About a month later they came back. My kitchen floor gets tons. I notice alot dead there but still crawling everywhere else. I find them in my babys toys and I’m afraid my baby will eat one or one will crawl in his ear. THIS SUX!!!!!

  11. I hate this. omg i cant even sleep in my own room. i have them in my bed. idk what to do. what do i have to do? there everywhere in my house

  12. Ok we live in a basement appartment and our windows are at ground level…. we have hundreds i mean hundreds of earwigs coming in from who knows where and i hte bugs so much…. i stay up all night trying to squish everyone i see but i’m not making it to work anymore cause i’m up all night and sleep all day. i find them in my bed, on my walls, on the roof, everywhere PLEASE HELP!!!! They are ruining my life.

  13. Dishwater Soap does wonders! I put it pure on the earwig nests and dillute it in water to splash around the doors and most active areas.
    Other pests like ants seem to keep them in check when ever they become the problem we get a break from the Earwig infestations around the doors and inside the house for a few days. One thing i will not do again is kill baby spiders, i always kept the adult spiders around, but unfortunatly this year they layed many baby spider nests all around the doors and in our way so i killed many baby nests before the summer and now it seems to have contributed to the earwig and ant problem.
    And yeah the bird tip is nonsense maybe deep in a yard near trees or a birdfeeder but the problem isn’t there, birds don’t go under the patio and lawn accessories, under the vinyl on the side of the house or underground they don’t even pick them off the foundation and even if they wanted to earwigs hide during the day when birds are active. The only predators around my place at night are spiders and bats.

  14. I’m so sick of these little bastards! I just finished stepping on about a hundred of them. I found two in my home last night! I opened my shed door today in order to put my bbq cover on, when I seen about fifty of them fall from the door onto the patio stones. I sprayed them with furniture polish, then boiled some water and poured it on where I’m assuming there nest is.

    I’m going to try that bucket full of vegetable oil method, and let you guys know how it goes.

  15. OMGGGGGGGGGGGG i hate these damn things, i use Raid, for the inside of my house its suppose to kill for upto 2 weeks but…………… i dont really knwo abot that seems to work for a few days them bam back again its like they wait for the raid to dry up the storm in again

  16. Quit trying to get rid of them, its no use. Eat them instead. Here is the recipe for Easy Earwig Cupcakes:

    • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 1/3 cups sugar
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup of live Earwigs
    • 2 large eggs

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

    Combine flour, Earwigs, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening, milk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape side of bowl with a spatula.

    Add eggs to the mixture. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape bowl again. Beat on high speed for 1 minute 30 seconds until well mixed.

    Spoon cupcake batter into paper liners until 1/2 to 2/3 full.

    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    Cool 5 minutes in pans then remove and place on wire racks to cool completely.

    Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with your favorite Earwig frosting recipe or decorate as you desire.

  17. I am terrified of bugs(spiders, earwigsa and ants) So I was told to use sunlight liquid dishwash soap, dilute it and spray on the earth, plants around your door entries and it works wonders. You can even put a little bowl on the ground, or basement floor and they will dissapear. Try it, it is worth it and it does not cost a lot. Give me your feed back.

  18. BEER!

    Take a small margarine (or similar container – sour cream etc…) and pour (Ugh- WASTE) a small potion of beer, about 4-5 oz and place the container in a prominent earwig location. If soil is present, it’s even better to dig the container into the ground a little, so about 0.5cm of the rim is sticking above ground. Leave it for 2 days and I GUARANTEE that it wil be full of drowned earwigs. Accidental by-catch is SLUGS. Bonus! Kinda gross to dispose of, but I just huck it into my flower beds!

    I don’t like to use poisons, and I don’t think you’ll ever destroy a whole nest with this technique, but does it ever work! I kill hundreds at a time this way.

  19. Food grade diatometrius earth(safe for worming everything, too) look it up!I ordered 10 lbs for $14 plus shipping(15 more)oh well, it will cut into their bodies and then dry them up or they eat it, since it’s like a flour.really wholistic!oh, they have hidden wings!

  20. I hate these disgusting bugs.They’re everywhere and nothing gets rid of them.But what helps is the dishwashing recipe and you can also put any bowl or can with liquid in it on a an outdoor table and they will drown.Still they are pretty hard to get rid of.

  21. Holy crap i have 7 nests in my backyard: 4 in trees 1 in a fence and 2 in a wood and plaswtic box. once i was washing the dishes and one climbed up through the strainer… eeeeuuaggghh!

  22. Here is a sure way to get rid of earwigs. Take margarine container and make holes halfway up all around the container, put vegetable oil about 1/4 full, put lid back on and just put where you know they hang around. Guarantee you will have earwigs the next day, and the next and so on. It’s amazing how it actually works.

  23. In the garden and in hanging pots and containers on the ground outside, I have put three cloves of garlic in each, being sure to remove all the skin first. Yes, some of them take root, but it got rid of all the earwigs last year. In the house, we just happen to have garlic hanging up in the kitchen, bought from the grocery store, to use when cooking, and have only ever had a couple earwigs come in the house when I finished gardening, so I got them right away. Earwigs do not like the scent of garlic. I always wondered why my lfil planted so much garlic among the flowers and some vegetables. Now I know why.



    Earwigs, like a lot of insects, including moths, are attracted to the lights
    in your house. No lights, no earwigs in your house.
    I had a major problem, now do not turn lights on in house after dark, problem
    Realize that this solution may not be for everyone, but if you can accept
    a lifestyle with no lights in house after dark, no more problem.
    Good Luck!

  25. I hate these damn bugs! They are mostly in my basement and since my basement is damp and not refinished it definitely answers my question why they are getting upstairs sometimes. I have even found a bunch of them in my grill! It’s disgusting I just want them gone, I will try the vegetable oil trick for sure and possibly the dawn dish soap idea. I WILL DEFINITELY NOT BE EATING THESE THINGS IN CUPCAKES!! lol I also thought that ear wigs (pinchers) ate wood, since when I was a kid we would find ear wig holes in our playhouse ceiling and now since I have wood stored in my basement thats why I thought they were nesting down there. Is this true at all?

  26. We bought our house a year ago and it needed so much work and was basically a junk yard! we have cleaned it up so much, it looks like a new place and the earwig problem has definitely gone down but I have had it professionally sprayed but was recently told that I basically paid for peace of mind…anyone know if this is true? I did notice a difference so I find it hard to believe.

Leave a Comment