How to Get Rid of Earwigs | Remedies & Preventive Measures


Earwigs or pincher bugs are a pain, LITERALLY. Despite their small size, they can push you down on the ground with their bites and how painful the experience is. Besides being found in creeks and trails outsides, these bugs are also found in abundance inside the homes, especially when they start the infestation process. 

Besides coming with the normal problem of being a pest, earwigs are also pretty damaging to the property. If you have a fruit or flower garden in your backyard, be assured that their infestation will end up damaging the whole space without any questions asked.

However, just because their presence is matted doesn’t mean you can’t get rid of them. If you have been looking into how to get rid of earwigs, we have some amazing answers lined up for you.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Woodlice?

How to Spot an Earwig Infestation?

Unlike most other pests found around, Earwigs are attracted to cold and damp areas. So, unlike other pests that seek shelter from the cold in the warmth of the house, they are a complete opposite item. So, you will seldom find them infesting the indoors of your house. Typically, they are found outdoors chewing away at your plants. 

If you are wondering how to detect a possible infestation of earwigs, the following should be a dead giveaway:

1. Very Bad & Pungent Smell

Since earwigs are so small and found diligently outdoors, you are bound to crush quite a few on your evening stroll in your garden. If you can smell a very pungent or foul smell coming out from around the backyard, it is a sign of an earwig’s infestation. Typically, the smell comes from the yellowish secretion of this pest.

2. Attracted to Night Lights

Earwigs are nocturnal, meaning that they come out of their hiding during the nighttime, especially in search of food and shelter. So, if you have a night light switched on around your backyard, now would be a good time to check that area. If you find creepers around the light, it is a sign of infestation.

3. Scattered Dead Plants & Leaves

As we said before, earwigs are attracted to plants, fruits, and flowers and will fend off them in abundance. So, if your garden is infested with these pests, be assured that they will come out and likely destroy the plants. If you find dead plants and leaves, you know why.

4. Look Out for Cold & Moist Locations

Earwigs are a lot different from the other pests because they seek cold spots for infestation. So, if you are sure about a possible infestation but don’t know where to look, check the areas in the house that are susceptible to the cold. This is where they take to hiding most of the time.

List of Ways to Get Rid of Earwigs

Now that you have a fair idea about earwigs and what they are capable of doing, we must move ahead to discussing the ways to get rid of their infestation for good. If you want to preserve your plants and your garden, we’d recommend you act faster before it’s too late.

1. Start with Dish Soap & Water

Dish Soap
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Like any other pest treatment, we’d always recommend you start with the easier and effective DIY methods. They are convenient, not to mention, a lot less toxic too. So, if you are sitting here confused about how to get rid of these big pests, be assured that the process isn’t as complicated as it seems.

The combination of dish soap and water suffocates the earwigs, killing them in the process. However, since this is a non-toxic method, you can’t expect to banish all the overgrowth with just one spritz. Instead, you need to consistently do it for a few days in the infested spots to see the difference.

2. Switch Out to Rubbing Alcohol & Water              

If the dish soap and water combination isn’t working out for you, the next best option is to try rubbing alcohol and water. The pungent smell of the alcohol either kills the earwigs on the spot or ends up driving them out of your house. Like the previous one, even this one will take some time to show results, so be wary.

3. Sprinkle Boric Acid Powder

Boric Acid

Since earwigs are generally found outdoors, sprinkling boric acid powder is viable. However, always ensure that you keep your kids and pets out of the perimeter of the powder. This is highly toxic and will harm the health of children and pets.

However, the strong chemical composition of boric acid is extremely viable in getting rid of the earwigs in no time at all. Also, boric acid is very readily available in hardware stores, so you won’t have a hard time tracking them down.

4. Install Light Traps

Moth Trap
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Sometimes, the easy ways don’t work out. So, you have to opt for the hard ways to get rid of earwigs. Since these pests are attracted to light, you can always lure them into your trap using different light traps. What you can do is focus the light on a spot and place your dish soap and water mixture near it so the earwigs fall into the solution and die on the spot.

5. Try Commercial Pesticide

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If you are tired of the DIY methods and want to get your hands on quicker methods, commercial pesticides work wonders. Try and opt for pesticides that contain chemical components like Malathion, Pyrethrins, and Sevin. They are highly potent and help get rid of the earwigs after a few sprays.

However, like the boric acid traps, even this one needs to be sprayed with caution. Always ensure that your kids or pets don’t crawl into those areas and end up ingesting any of these chemicals.

6. Vacuum Out The Area

Another tedious but effective way of getting rid of earwigs is with a vacuum cleaner. It is time-consuming, especially if you don’t know the clear signs of infestation. However, once you get sorted with the initial stages, it becomes easier for you to vacuum the garden and inside the house to collect them and get rid of them.

We’d always recommend that you empty the vacuum bag very carefully and away from the house. Some individuals end up using one-time-use vacuum bags and then throwing them out. That would 100% be your safest bet in this case.

7. Find Leaky Entrances

Although earwigs like staying outdoors, you can also find them inside the house on certain occasions. If the infestation is inside the house, we’d recommend that you find those leaky entry points and seal them in. The last thing you want is to end up feeding into the infestation by leaving those holes open.

Also, if you have an open or leaky pipeline contributing to moisture around the house, you need to get rid of that. Doing these will make the area inhabitable, keeping the earwigs out.

8. Clean the Garden or Backyard

Earwigs feed on plants, fruits, and flowers. If you have fallen leaves, weed, mulch, or fruits on the grass and around the garden, you are ideally setting up a habitable spot for the earwigs. Typically, you need to get rid of the same immediately to ensure that the earwigs find the next best spot to move on to.

Also, mow down the grass every once in a while, and try to keep your garden and backyard as clean as possible, especially if you don’t want to end up with uncontrolled infestation around. Trim the bushes and trees around the garden too.

9. Clean the Gutters & Drains

Another common site of infestation of the earwigs is that in the dirty gutters. It is common because of the dampness and moisture in them. So, if you are noticing an alarming growth in their infestation, your best bet would be to clean out the gutters without any further questions.

Typically, we’d recommend that you keep the gutters and drain holes around your house enclosed as well. This reduces the risks of further infestation of any kind of pest that you can likely think of.

10. Get Professional Help

Last but not least is calling pest control. Sometimes, the infestation is beyond our control and the fix of the DIY resolutions. If that is the case with you, getting professional pest control down to business would be ideal.

This way, you can scope out the entire perimeter of the house and then clean everything out without any further hassle.

If you were wondering how to get rid of earwigs, we hope this article gives you all the insights that you are on the lookout for. Remember that earwigs infest quite quickly due to their quicker reproductive cycle. So, never feed into their ideal living environment and instead, scope out the best ways in which you can get rid of them for good.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Bird Mites?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to Get Rid of Earwigs Naturally?

The dishwashing soap hack is the absolute best option. It traps the earwigs and prevents them from flying out.

Which Smell Do Earwigs Hate?

Strong smells like cloves, citrus, and vinegar are some smells that earwigs hate. So, spraying this around the house can keep them out.

Do Earwigs Go Inside the Ear?

Yes, it can crawl into your ear from an infested place and cause discomfort. So, make sure you are wary of the same.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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