How To Get Rid of Earwigs (2021 Edition)

Earwigs are common insects that are mostly harmless, but they have a frightening appearance that makes them incredibly unpleasant. If you’re dealing with an earwig infestation, you probably want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Once you’ve removed them, keeping them from coming back is essential.

There are quite a few ways to remove earwigs from your home if you’re noticing a lot of them around. Understanding what repels them and how to recognize them can help you deal with an infestation if it happens. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How To Get Rid of and Kill Earwigs 
  • How To Prevent Earwigs
  • How To Find and Identify Earwigs
  • Signs of an Earwig Infestation
  • Causes of an Earwig Infestation

If trying to exterminate earwigs on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.

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How To Get Rid of and Kill Earwigs

There are quite a few techniques you can use to get rid of earwigs that have made their way into your home or garden. Using all of these and seeing which ones work the best can help you get rid of an earwig infestation quickly and easily.

Make a Soap and Water Spray

Earwigs are incredibly averse to soap and water, and making a spray solution can help get rid of them. Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle of warm water and spray it in places where earwigs are likely to congregate. These will be places like the bases of your doorways or the leaves of your houseplants. This will also keep earwigs from coming back in the future.  

Make a Light Trap

One of the things that make earwigs easy to trap is that they are attracted to bright lights. Because of this, you can make a homemade earwig trap using a bucket of soapy water and a bright light. Fill the bucket with the soap solution and point a light at it, then leave that outside or in an area of your home where you have seen earwigs in the past. They will be attracted to the light and will get caught in the soap mixture.

Apply Boric Acid Powder

Boric acid powder can be purchased at almost any hardware store and is an excellent earwig repellent. You can sprinkle it in crevices where earwigs might be able to get into the house, and it will kill any bugs that try to crawl over it. However, you should be very careful when using boric acid as it’s dangerous for children and animals to be around. Always keep it out of reach and sprinkle it in out-of-the-way areas.

Use an Alcohol and Water Mixture

Earwigs have a waxy outer shell that makes them difficult to get rid of and very physically strong. This shell can be penetrated by using a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray earwigs on sight to kill them immediately. The alcohol solution acts as a pesticide and will get through the shell and get the job done.

Make an Oil and Soy Sauce Trap

The smell of soy sauce is very attractive to earwigs and works as a fantastic bait to lure them into a trap. Mix equal parts soy sauce and vegetable oil and put the solution into a container. Leave the container wherever you’ve found earwigs and replace it as needed. They’ll crawl into the container but won’t be able to get out due to the oil.

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How to Prevent Earwigs

Once you’ve gotten rid of the existing earwig population in your home, you’ll have to do what you can to prevent them from coming back. Earwigs are resilient insects, but with a few simple techniques, you can be sure that they stay outside where they belong instead of in your house.

Seal Up Holes

Earwigs can’t get in your house if they don’t have an entry point. Ensure that all your window screens are free of holes and that any large gaps on your window sills are closed up with caulk. You can adjust the hinges on your doors to ensure a tight seal on the bottom, or you can add rubber stoppers to fill the gaps. You should also check to make sure there are no large gaps between your baseboards and flooring.

Fix Leaks

One of the things that earwigs are most attracted to is moisture. If you have any leaks in your home, these areas will quickly become habitats for earwigs and other insects. Inspect all your plumbing and make sure you don’t have any leaks or drips. Not only will this keep earwigs away, but it will also prevent cockroaches, rodents, and other animals from making their home in these wet areas.

Remove Fallen Vegetation

Earwigs love to eat fermenting vegetation like dead leaves and twigs that fall in your yard. Because of this, you need to make sure that you pick up any piles of vegetation or leaf litter, especially in wet weather. These can attract earwigs and beetles to your yard and make them more likely to end up in your house.

Clean Gutters

When your gutters get clogged, they hold standing water that grows bacteria and becomes stagnant. When this happens, they start to attract earwigs and other pests. Ensure you clean your gutters at least twice a year to keep them flowing and diverting water away from the house. This will keep earwigs from breeding and multiplying near your home.

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How To Find and Identify Earwigs

Earwigs are very likely to be in warm and damp areas, and they usually hide in places like the undersides of flower pots, rocks, and woodpiles. You may also find them in the crawl space or attic of your house, especially when the weather is cold. Any place that is damp and dark will be a perfect hiding place for an earwig infestation.

You might also find earwigs around your AC unit if you have one outside. This is especially true if your unit produces high levels of condensation. Garden faucets and leaky hoses are perfect habitats for these pests as well.

How to Identify Earwigs

Earwigs are easy to identify due to their distinct pincers or forceps that protrude from their abdomen. These forceps are one of the reasons they look so frightening and can be so intimidating. It’s important to note, though, that earwigs aren’t poisonous and don’t spread any diseases.

Adult earwigs are usually between five and 25 millimeters in length, and they also have two pairs of wings. However, not all earwigs can fly, and the ones that can aren’t as fast as other insects. They are much faster on the ground and will try to run away quickly if you find their hiding place.  

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Signs of an Earwig Infestation

Sight - The most surefire way to know that you have an earwig infestation is to see them with your own eyes. Earwigs are very distinct, but they are very good at hiding. Checking under rocks and woodpiles is a good way to know if you have an earwig issue.

Plant Damage - If you’re noticing jagged holes in the leaves of your plants, this could be a sign that you have an earwig infestation. This is especially true if you’re noticing the damage after particularly rainy weather.

Causes of an Earwig Infestation

Damp Conditions - If your home is especially damp, you might be more likely to have an earwig infestation. They will be very common in climates that get a lot of rainfall or have very humid summers. If your home has a moisture problem, a dehumidifier can help dry out the rooms and make them less hospitable to these pests.

Hiding Places - Homes that have woodpiles, flower beds with mulch, or lots of landscaping rocks in the backyard will be much more susceptible to large numbers of garden pests like earwigs. Anywhere insects can hide without being disturbed will be a prime hiding spot for earwigs. Check these areas regularly to see if you have to use any of the above methods to get rid of an infestation.

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Protect Your Home From Earwigs

While earwigs aren’t dangerous, they can be quite disturbing if you’re seeing a lot of them in or around your home. They also like to eat the leaves of plants, which can damage your garden, both indoors and outdoors. If you suspect you have an earwig infestation, it’s best to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Using the above techniques, you should be able to get rid of any earwig infestation. However, if you’re still noticing them after trying the prevention methods, a professional pest control technician can help. They’ll have the right tools and knowledge of the area to make sure pests don’t come back after they’ve been removed.

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