If you have damp conditions in and around your home, then there’s a good chance you also have earwigs. These small scavengers and creepy garden pests are a nuisance during the cold months when they make their way into your house. Discover how to get rid of earwigs in your garden and your home to keep your garden safe and put you at ease.
There are over 22 species of earwigs, or pincer bugs, thriving throughout the Northern and Western regions of the United States. These odd-looking insects have pincers at the bottoms of their abdomens and prefer hiding places that are damp and dark like in organic plant material such as mulch or a woodpile, in small crevices and beneath the foundation of your home.
While they may be creepy-looking, earwigs, or Forficula auricularia, are not necessarily harmful to you or your garden. This insect with pincers may look dangerous, but they do not sting or bite. That’s not to say that you want those creepy-crawlies hiding in the crawl spaces and dark corners of your home.
- How to Kill Earwigs
- What Do Earwigs Eat?
- How to Get Rid of Earwigs with a Natural Pesticide
- Killing Earwigs with a Homemade Insecticide
- How to Use Boric Acid for Earwig Control
- Trapping Earwigs before They Get in the House
- Lure Earwigs into a Trap
- How to Apply Earwig Pesticide
- Eliminating Earwigs with Diatomaceous Earth
- Prevent Earwigs from Entering Your Home
How to Kill Earwigs
We have several avenues for pest control to prevent an infestation of earwigs in and around your property. We also have a few techniques to kill earwigs that have already hidden within the home.
What Do Earwigs Eat?
Earwigs are drawn into the home when it gets cold outside, and they are also attracted to moist areas. These reddish-brown alien-looking insects are not welcome in the house, but you may not want them in the yard either.
What do earwigs eat? They enjoy munching on the vegetation you are growing in the yard or greenhouse, as well as other bits of food.
The Earwig Diet
Earwigs are omnivores, munching on almost anything and everything you have in the yard and even in the home. These opportunistic eaters destroy new plant growth and eat through soft fruits, flowers, and ornamental plants.
An unwelcome guest in the garden, they eat leafy greens, potatoes, and radishes. Once they make their way into your home, they adjust their diet to include flour, bread, and cookies.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs with a Natural Pesticide
Killing insects by natural means is a great way to avoid coming into contact with the harmful chemicals found in many insecticides. Here is how to kill earwigs using a natural pesticide.
Pour warm water into a bottle sprayer and add several drops of dish detergent. Shake the bottle gently to mix without creating too many suds. Spray the soapy water on any plants in the yard where earwigs are spotted.
Spray dark and damp corners inside and outside of your home that appeal to the bug. This solution also works well at eliminating aphids. Use as needed to eliminate earwigs.
Dish soap is also quite effective when used as part of a fungus gnat spray that you can apply directly to the unwanted bugs that may show up in your houseplants.
Killing Earwigs with a Homemade Insecticide
Getting rid of earwigs without using harsh chemicals is easy once you realize what works and what doesn’t. Use an alcohol-based contact spray to control an earwig infestation. The alcohol penetrates their waxy exoskeleton, killing them immediately.
Pour equal portions of rubbing alcohol and water into a bottle sprayer and shake well to mix. Make sure to label the container for safety purposes.
Keep the bottle handy and spray the earwigs directly when you spot them. The spray kills them on contact, and it’s only a matter of minutes before you eradicate them.
How to Use Boric Acid for Earwig Control
Boric acid is a natural insecticide and contact-killer and is an excellent tool for preventing an earwig infestation. Boric acid is easy to get at many hardware stores and online and easy to use.
Take caution when using this application since the powder is also harmful to children and pets.
Boric Acid Earwig Control
Sprinkle boric acid powder along entry points to the home, along baseboards, in damp areas of the garden, over woodpiles, and any other location where earwigs congregate.
Boric acid also eliminates cockroaches and other household pests, too. You could also use neem oil for gardening areas to eliminate other types of bugs that may be munching on your plants.
Trapping Earwigs before They Get in the House
This trap is a natural earwig killer that draws the insects in and drowns them. It is a great preventative measure to stop earwigs from getting into your home.
Pour water into a bucket and add the dish soap. Use a large spoon to mix the soap into the water to create a sudsy solution. Place the bucket of soapy water outside in an area where earwigs are noticed frequently and set up a lamp with the light shining toward the bucket to attract them.
Lure Earwigs into a Trap
Particular scents attract earwigs and are useful in bringing them into a trap. This technique is ideal for use in the garden and other areas of the yard that are infested by insects.
Combine the vegetable oil and soy sauce in a plastic container. Punch holes in the lid that are about a quarter-inch in diameter and place the cover on the container. Bury the trap in the garden so that the lid is at ground level.
How to Apply Earwig Pesticide
If you have already tried many of the natural earwig killer solutions and you still have an infestation, try a commercial pesticide to control earwig populations.
Note that many of these pesticides contain harmful ingredients that are bad for you and the environment, so take precautions if you have children and pets.
Follow the instructions on your pesticide before applying. Generally, you attach a garden hose to the pesticide to dilute the solution. Spray the insect killer onto infested areas of the yard and any locations that are desirable to earwigs.
Make sure to spray on plant debris, around outside basement walls, and other damp hiding places. To apply a granule pesticide, sprinkle the chemical approximately eight feet away from the foundation of your home.
Spread the pesticide along the surface of the garden and lawn and then spray the area with water. Doing this helps the chemical seep into the ground where earwigs lay their eggs.
Eliminating Earwigs with Diatomaceous Earth
One of the many uses of diatomaceous earth, or DE, is to kill earwigs on plants, in the yard, and the home. This naturally occurring powder comes from sedimentary rock and kills insects by causing them to dry out and die when they come in contact with it. DE is also safe to use around children and pets.
Diatomaceous Earth Application
Sprinkle a layer of diatomaceous earth in entryways to your home, and areas of the yard infested with earwigs. To eliminate earwigs in the house, apply a barely visible layer of DE in dark and damp corners, hiding places, and anywhere you spot earwigs regularly.
Prevent Earwigs from Entering Your Home
An essential step in earwig prevention is to create an area less desirable for them to enjoy. Lowering the humidity of your home, cleaning up piles of plant debris, and closing off entryways go a long way in keeping pesky bugs out of your home.
As with most insects, light attracts earwigs, so the first step in preventing an infestation is to change your outdoor lighting. The best type of lighting to avoid attracting bugs outdoors is sodium lighting.
Earwigs love residing in damp and dark areas. If you have a particularly humid home, consider getting a dehumidifier to lower the humidity. Fix any leaking pipes in and around your house to keep the area as dry as possible. Clean the gutters to eliminate standing water.
Use caulk to seal any openings and cracks into your home. Check for crevices in the basement, windows, and doors, and other gaps in the house where insects can make an entrance. Repair window and door screens to stop bugs from having easy access.
Clean all plant debris and leaves from flowerbeds and the yard. Place all leaf litter into a plastic bag and dispose of properly.
Install feeders and baths in your yard and plant berry bushes and fruit trees to attract various birds. Birds are natural predators of earwigs and are happy to assist in the earwig elimination process.
As with any insect, earwigs look for the most comfortable habitat that fills their needs. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep earwigs from entering and living in your home.
Prevent pincher bugs from hanging out in your house by making a few changes to the environment and eliminate unwelcome guests by inviting natural predators and using a few simple solutions.
We’re glad that we could show you how to get rid of earwigs from your home, and we’d love it if you’d share our pincer bug removal tips and recipes with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook.