Do you need to know how to get rid of earwigs? In addition to taking an in-depth look at earwigs, including what they are, where they live, what they eat, and what harm they cause, the following offers 15 different remedies for getting rid of these troublesome insects.
- What are Earwigs?
- What do Ear wigs Eat?
- Where do they live?
- What Harm Can an Earwig Cause?
- 15 Simple Methods on How To Kill Earwigs
- 1. Clean up your yard
- 2. Invest in caulk or weather stripping
- 3. Use petroleum jelly or sticky tape
- 4. Change your outside lighting
- 5. Empty your traps properly
- 6. Create a trap using tuna cans and fish oil
- 7. Make a trap using old rolled-up newspapers
- 8. Create a trap using a flowerpot and newspaper
- 9. Make a trap using a shoebox and molasses
- 10. Invest in diatomaceous earth
- 11. Attract earwig’s nemeses to your yard
- 12. Invest in botanical insecticides
- 13. Use insecticides intended for crawling insects
- 14. Purchase Commercial Earwig Traps
- 15. Vacuum
- Final Words
What are Earwigs?
These insects are identified by the pincers, or forceps, that jut out from their abdomen on the opposite end from their head, as well as their two sets of wings on their brown or black bodies. Depending on what species they are, they may be as small as 5mm or as large as 25mm.
What do Ear wigs Eat?
Earwigs primarily eat insects, including lice, centipedes, and tachinid flies, as well as a variety of plants, such as clover, lettuce, strawberry, potatoes, and roses. In some cases, earwigs may prey on birds, lizards, spiders, amphibians, and yellow jackets. Despite only coming out at night, earwigs are attracted to light, such as those on patios and porches.
Where do they live?
Although some can fly, most earwigs, also referred to as pincher bugs, live entirely on the ground, particularly around the mulch in flowerbeds and beneath leaves, logs, and rocks. Active only at night, they stay in these damp areas throughout the day.
In the morning, they congregate under things, such as chair cushions, that were left out overnight and became damp. When they venture indoors, it is usually because of a change in the weather or a need to find food.
What Harm Can an Earwig Cause?
Although they appear dangerous due to their pincers and often emit a yellowish-brown foul smelling liquid from their scent glands, earwigs really are not harmful to humans or animals. However, they can cause significant damage to fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other plants they feed on. Often the leaves of the plant take on a ragged appearance and are covered with an abundance of small, irregular sized holes.
Despite what you may have heard, earwigs do not lay eggs in people’s ears, nor do come into your home with the intent of infesting it. While they are not dangerous, they can be very irritating.
15 Simple Methods on How To Kill Earwigs
If you are struggling with earwigs, whether in your yard or in your home, here are 15 different ways to get rid of them. Keep in mind that the goal when it comes to effectively getting rid of earwigs is to put an end to their migration from outside to inside.
1. Clean up your yard
Keep in mind that earwigs prefer damp areas. To get rid of them, rake up and remove garden debris, piles of leaves, and excess mulch, as well as clear out any general clutter that may be in your yard. Trim back foliage and be sure to water your lawn and garden only when it is absolutely necessary to prevent the soil from becoming oversaturated.
Finally, be certain waterspouts and rain gutters direct water away from your home’s foundation. You may even want to put down ornamental stones or gravel around your garden or foundation wall to create an attractive barrier that discourages earwigs.
2. Invest in caulk or weather stripping
To prevent earwigs from entering your home, add caulk or weather stripping around any potential point of entry at ground level, such as around pipes, doors, and windows.
Also, look for crevices or cracks in the foundation, eaves, and floorboards that may need to be filled in. In addition, look for possible ways to eliminate dampness around faucets and crawl spaces.
3. Use petroleum jelly or sticky tape
If earwigs are ruining your plants, shrubs, or trees, stop them before they can get started. Put down sticky tape or spread petroleum jelly around the base of your plants. As crawlers, they will become stuck in the sticky trap before they can climb up and cause any damage.
4. Change your outside lighting
Keep in mind that earwigs, as well as plenty of other insects, are attracted to bright light at night. If you can’t keep the outdoor lighting off at night, switch to sodium vapor yellow-tinted bulbs. They will provide plenty of light for you to be able to see, but not so much light that earwigs will be drawn to it.
5. Empty your traps properly
There will be a number of homemade traps discussed below. However, if you do not empty them properly, the situation may not get much better. Follow these directions. When you empty your traps, dump the earwigs in soapy, hot water to ensure they are dead. When it is time to throw away your traps, seal them in a plastic bag before putting them in the garbage to make certain no live earwigs are able to escape.
6. Create a trap using tuna cans and fish oil
Empty out a tuna or cat food can, but do not clean it out. Then, add around ¼ inch of oil to the bottom of the can. (While fish oil tends to work best, you can use any type of edible oil, such as sunflower, olive, or vegetable. If you do not have any oil, you can also use stale beer.)
Sink the cans into the ground near any plants earwigs are attracted to. Be sure to empty the cans out every day and refill them with oil until the earwigs have moved on.
7. Make a trap using old rolled-up newspapers
Simply roll-up the newspaper, leaving the middle around the same size as you usually see with paper towels. Fill the inside with crumbled up newspaper, but be sure not to pack it too tight.
Then, tape one end shut and then slightly wet the roll to make it a little damp. In the evening, place the traps near the plants. Be sure to empty out your traps every morning.
8. Create a trap using a flowerpot and newspaper
Grab one or more empty flowerpots (depending on how severe the situation is) that you won’t mind throwing away later and fill them with crumpled, damp newspaper.
In the early evening, take them outside, turn them upside down, and prop up one edge of the pot using a stick. Earwigs will crawl in when they are looking for a place to hide. Empty out your flowerpots every morning.
9. Make a trap using a shoebox and molasses
Shoebox traps are easy and effective, especially if you add a little bit of molasses. Poke a few holes in the outer side of a shoebox near the base. (Make certain the holes are large enough for an earwig to climb in.)
Drip a bit of molasses in the bottom of the box and put the lid on. (If you do not have any molasses, you can also use a thin layer of bran or oatmeal.) Place the shoebox outside in the evening and in the morning, you will have collected plenty of them.
10. Invest in diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a safe product that contains crushed fossilized algae (diatoms) and resembles dust. It can be purchased at any local hardware store or nursery, as well as Walmart, Target, and plenty of other stores.
Sprinkle a circle of DE approximately 2 inches wide around the base of your plants or the edges of a flowerbed, as well as around your home’s foundation, along fences and walks, and around trees and shrubs.
Apply at least two applications, at least one week apart. Don’t forget to reapply it, if it rains. As an added bonus to getting rid of earwigs, DE is also a great source of calcium for your garden.
11. Attract earwig’s nemeses to your yard
Although they enjoy eating tachinid flies, they are also the earwig’s primary insect predator. By planting dill, fennel, alyssum, and calendula in your yard, you’ll attract tachinid flies.
In addition, toads are an enemy of earwigs. To attract them, allow plants near your home (but not adjacent to) to grow wild. This creates a shady spot most toads love.
Finally, birds are a great way to keep the population of earwigs under control. Install a bird bath or put out bird feeders that encourage them to stop by your yard.
12. Invest in botanical insecticides
Botanical insecticides are all natural pesticides that are less toxic than commercial sprays and have a shorter half-life. As a result, they have fewer side effects and break down in the environment more quickly. They are a great second line of defense if the methods discussed above simply are not working for you.
They can be used as spot treatments or to spray in cracks and crevices. Although they are not as easy to find as typical pesticides, your local nursery should have a few options to select from.
13. Use insecticides intended for crawling insects
If nothing else seems to be working, you can purchase insecticides meant for crawling insects. Apply in the evening, just before it gets dark outside. Pay careful attention to what you are buying and be sure to stay away from pesticides. You can buy these products at pretty much any store that sells gardening products.
14. Purchase Commercial Earwig Traps
If you are not too sure about your ability to make a homemade trap, you can purchase traps that are already made, though you may have a difficult time finding them. Your best option is to contact a nursery supply store. Be sure to follow the accompanying instructions.
If earwigs have invaded your home, you can use the traps discussed above indoors as well. You also have the option of vacuuming because they are crawlers that will not be able to fly away. Just be aware that earwigs have the tendency to move fast.
If you are struggling with earwigs, whether in your yard or in your home, it is important to remember that they really aren’t dangerous. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to live with them. Using the tips above, you can get rid of these troublesome insects naturally.