How to Get Rid of Earwigs

Earwigs, also known as Forficula auricularia or pincher bugs, are among the most common bugs in North America. They prefer shady places, such as tall grass and shrubs. Indoors, they can be found in damp corners, little cracks in walls and floors, and other dark and moist places.

Earwigs are mostly harmless, but when present in great numbers, they can be considered a pest. They usually eat a mixed diet of decaying plants, small insects, slugs, snails, aphids, and larvae of other insects.

They are recognizable for the pincers found on the back end of the abdomen. Though looking menacing, these pincers don’t contain any poison or transmit diseases. Keep reading to find out how to get rid of earwigs.

Driving them Out

Earwig infestations, though bothersome and unpleasant, can be dealt with without the help of professionals. However, a severe infestation might warrant professional assistance.

The main thing to have in mind when dealing with earwigs is to destroy their habitats. Otherwise, your house and garden might be plagued by the infestation for a long time.

Also, you should make sure to seal all entrance points near the ground and below it, as well as to keep the house and the surrounding area dry. Here are some of the most effective ways of expelling and keeping earwigs out.

Dish Soap and Water

If you don’t know how to get rid of earwigs, you can start with tap water and whatever brand of dish soap you have in the kitchen. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and add a few drops of soap. Shake the bottle until the content turns soapy.

You should spray the mixture across the leaves of the plants in your garden or home to kill the insects. Make sure to cover the damp, dark corners around the house, as earwigs love these places. You should repeat this process any time you see earwigs on your property.

Rubbing Alcohol and Water

Instead of dish soap, you can use rubbing alcohol to make the insecticide spray. Add equal parts tap water and rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle.

To kill the earwigs with this solution, you should spray at them directly. The isopropyl alcohol will penetrate through their armor and kill them on the spot.

Lighted Traps in the Garden

Another technique is to create lighted traps in your garden to lure the insects away from the house. Here’s how to make them.

Get a bucket and fill it with a mixture of dish soap and water. The ratio should be 80% water and 20% soap. Stir the mixture until it’s nice and foamy. Take the bucket into the yard and place it as far away from the house as possible. Point a lamp towards the surface of the water to draw earwigs to the bucket, where a fate of drowning awaits.

Soy Sauce and Oil Traps

Instead of light, you can use smell to lure the earwigs into a trap. Take a plastic or metal container and fill it with equal parts soy sauce and oil. You can use either vegetable or olive oil for this trap.

Cover the container with a plastic lid. Pierce several holes of around a quarter of an inch in diameter in the lid and place the trap inside your house or in the garden. The smell will attract earwigs to the trap. If you decide to deploy the trap outside, bury the container into the ground up to the lid to make it easier for the insects to enter the trap.

Use Birds

By introducing the natural enemy of a species, you can ensure its extinction in a certain area. In order to crush the invading earwigs, you could lure birds into your yard by building bird feeders and let them deal with the insects in your stead.

The reasoning behind this is that birds find earwigs highly tasty. If the standard bird feeders prove insufficient, try planting fruit trees or berry bushes around your yard.

Use Vacuum Cleaner

You can also deploy your trusty vacuum cleaner to kill earwigs in large numbers. This strategy is particularly effective in places with high concentrations of earwigs.

Plug the vacuum cleaner into the nearest power outlet and suck as many bugs into the vacuum cleaner as you can. Make sure to not leave any eggs behind. Once you’ve cleaned up an area, you should empty the vacuum cleaner’s bag or dustbin content into a previously prepared bucket of soapy water.

Boric Acid Powder

Earwigs tend to frequent damp, dark, and remote places. If you have trouble reaching the small holes they use as hideouts, you can sprinkle them with boric acid powder. The powder is a natural insecticide but you should keep it away from kids and pets, even though it’s milder than commercial pesticides.

Sprinkle all the holes in floorboards, walls, ceilings, and windows, wherever you spot earwigs crawling in and out of. You can also use it to treat damp and dark corners, as well as wood piles in the garden.

Use Earwig Pesticide

When it comes to ridding your home and garden of earwigs, if the infestation is particularly severe or if you want to make a short work of the pest, chemical warfare might be your best choice.

There are many pesticides formulated especially for earwigs. Pick one and apply it around the garden and the lawn. Make sure not to apply it too close to the house. You should leave a pesticide-free zone of at least six to ten feet from the house.

First, apply the pesticide around the lawn and then spray water over it. That way, you’ll make sure the pesticide reaches the earwigs’ underground habitats and destroys both the eggs and the adult earwigs.


Earwigs can be helpful in dealing with some other pests. Also, they can overstay their welcome and start damaging your plants, fruit trees, and vegetables. That’s when they should be treated as pest and properly dealt with.

Once you drive them out, you can keep them out by repairing holes and cracks in the floorboards, windows, and corners. You should also fix all leaking pipes, drains, and faucets. Finally, you might want to replace the standard light bulbs outside the house with sodium bulbs, as earwigs are attracted to the blue wavelengths emitted by incandescent and LED light bulbs.