11 Home Remedies To Get Rid of Earwigs

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get rid of earwigs

Earwigs look far more dangerous than they actually are. Two large pincers on their abdomen, while just for show, are too much for some. Seeking out dark wet and still habitats, your home often makes a pleasant stop. So when earwigs enter your home, or worse still, if you have an earwig infestation, while there may be little damage to your property, few people have the stomach to tolerate their presence. Our home remedies to get rid of earwigs are all you need to know to prevent earwigs from entering your house and give you peace of mind.

Why Earwigs Enter Your Home

All living organisms thrive if a food source and the environment they are adapted to is in abundance.

Earwigs are no different, and if you are wondering why earwigs have entered your home, there is either a nearby food source and/or a comfortable habitat in your home for them to propagate.

When it comes to food, earwig’s diet will depend on the species, but many are scavengers, feeding on other dead insects or rotting plant material. Some species will happily munch through a variety of garden plants, preferring fruit and tender green shoots. If you have an earwigs infestation in the home, there is undoubtedly a rich food source nearby or may even be inside the home (think rotting vegetation and/or dead roaches in a cellar).

Assuming the food source is not inside, then earwigs will have entered your house for the environment that it offers.

Earwigs are mostly nocturnal, spending the day hiding in a cool damp place with little wind. In their natural environment, this will mean under logs, rotting leaves, rocks and mulch. However,  modern gardens and woodpiles close to the house make an attractive abode. Basements and cellars can provide perfect shelter and if windows and doors are not sealed, the house can easily develop an earwig infestation.

If you have an earwig infestation and no obvious source, then it may mean the infestation is in the foundations. Most housing builds leave a ventilation gap between the lower floor and the ground below. If brickwork has failed, allowing earwigs in, this space makes the perfect earwig home habitat as it is damp, dark and windless.

Earwigs love the damp and it is quite common to see them congregate near sources of stagnant water. If damp areas are near or in your home, they could be the source of the earwigs. Check around wells (which in some house are inside below the floor), dripping faucets and broken gutters for earwig activity.

Finally, like many nocturnal insects, they are attracted to moonlight and, in our modern world, this now includes porch lights. Outside lights can become a beacon to earwigs and if your home is not sealed, an earwig house infestation can accidentally be started by your night lights.

If you have an earwig infestation in the home, don’t worry as earwigs are not harmful. And more to the point, here are all the home remedies to get rid of earwigs that you will need.

home remedies to get rid of earwigsHow To Get Rid of Earwigs in Your House

1) Seal your home

seal home with caulkEarwigs can enter your home through a pin-point opening. If your house has any parts that are dark, damp with still air, earwigs will likely take hold. The first and most important part to get rid of an earwig infestation is to seal your home.

Seal every nook, cranny, and crevice. Windows need to be sealed with fresh caulk, doors need to have draft excluders, brickwork must be repointed.

Pay special attention to the foundations, eliminating cracks and any water leakage with fresh cement. If you have an earwig infestation in the house, this is probably the source.

2) Set up a perimeter

perimeterIf you are lucky enough to not have an earwig infestation in your foundations, then the earwigs are entering your house for shelter during the day.

You need to set up a perimeter around the house of dry material (think pebbles, gravel or sand) to keep the earwigs out of your home. Many homes will have flower beds up to the house wall. Mulch and other plant debris will be used as fertilizer and used to retain moisture in the soil.

Earwigs love mulch.

A small ‘no-mans-land’ of 10″ of gravel should be enough to prevent the earwigs finding those cracks in your foundation wall.

Also, ensure gutters direct rainwater far from the house or directly into drains which don’t leak or aren’t blocked.

3) Lights Off

yellow lightingEarwigs are drawn towards the light. Hence keep the outdoor lights off or reduce lighting in outdoors to get rid of earwigs. Use yellow bulbs if need be as earwigs are more attracted to white light. Sodium lights give a warm glow that does not attract insects to the same degree.

4) Clear debris

wood habitatIf you have leaves and firewood piled up in your backyard, the chances are that this is where earwigs are entering the house from.

Clean up your yard and wood piles. The garbage pit should be far away from home and if you can’t clear up your firewood, sprinkle cedar wood chippings liberally over the logs.

5) Welcome Earwig Predators

predatorEncouraging earwig predators is definitely the most natural way to get rid of earwigs from the home.

Centipedes are big earwig predators but most people would consider this ‘cure’ worse than the disease. So try and encourage more palatable fauna.

Birds are natural earwig predators and can effectively reduce earwig population in your garden.

Set up nests and put out bird feeders to encourage birds. Diversified vegetation in your garden will help attract birds.

6) Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous EarthDiatomaceous Earth (DE) is a natural and safe insecticide made from tiny fossilized shells. It works by compromising the insect’s exoskeleton, allowing water to escape so that the earwig dies of dehydration. [1]

Apply the powder in areas where earwigs frequent. If you have set up a perimeter around your house, this is where you should spread DE. Since DE works only when it is dry, you need to reapply the powder after rains.

7) Boric acid

boric acid insecticideBoric acid is another favorite home remedy to get rid of earwigs. Easily attained from a hardware shop, it is strong insecticide that is harmless to humans and pets. When earwigs come into contact, they ingest boron into their system which they are unable to excrete. The boron wreaks havoc on the insect’s metabolism and it soon dies.

It can be sprinkled liberally across the home without fear of toxicity to humans or pets. Sprinkling it around the perimeter of your house is most effective.

8) Dish Soap

dish soapWater and dish soap is such a simple but effective home remedy for earwig infestations. It is easy to use, cheap and readily available.

Detergents work by breaking down the waxy oils that cover the earwig’s exoskeleton. Without these oils, the earwig dehydrates and dies. Unlike boric acid, which can take days to take effect, dish soap is pretty quick.(2)

Spray a dish soap mixture everywhere you think the earwigs might go. For added potency, add some vinegar to the solution as well.

9) Set Earwig Traps

trapAs earwigs are active at night, hunting them is not really an option. Try trapping them instead.

  • Earwig trap 1

Take a piece of paper, roll it into a tube of about an inch diameter and dampen it by dipping it into some water. Place the rolled and damp paper under the shade in the morning. Now the trap is set. Earwigs will use it to shelter themselves from heat.

Earwigs will use it to shelter themselves from heat. Pick up the roll and dispose of both earwigs and paper.

  • Earwig trap 2

Leave a few cans half-filled with beer overnight. Bury the cans near your foundations where you think the earwigs are entering your home. Be sure to keep the top of the can level with the ground. Next morning, you will find earwigs trapped in the cans.

  • Earwig trap 3

Add equal measures of olive oil and soy sauce to a plastic container and mix well. Secure the container with a plastic lid with holes to let earwigs in. Bury the plastic container keeping the lid level with the ground.

The aroma of soy sauce in the container will attract earwigs to enter through the holes. Once inside the container, there is no way out. The olive oil in the mixture will prevent the earwigs from getting away and the salt in soy sauce is toxic to them.

10) Vacuum

vacuum cleaner

Earwigs are easy to vacuum. If the vacuum is bagless, then disposing of the bugs is not an issue, but if you use a vacuum bag, its best to dispose of the bag after vacuuming as your vacuum will smell as the insects rot.

If you don’t want box earwigs in your vacuum at all, wrap a nylon or muslin stocking around the end of the vacuum nozzle, fixed with an elastic band. The stocking will act as a mini vacuum bag and the earwigs will not see the bottom of your vacuum cleaner.

11) Essential oils

neem oil and leafNature has produced many natural insecticides that can be used to get rid of earwigs. Plants utilize these insecticides to prevent being eaten.

A worthy ideal no less.

The best two natural insecticides for earwigs are neem oil and cedar oil. So good are these oils that they are now used in commercial agriculture as an alternative to chemical pesticides.

Neem oil works by entering the insects’ body and destabilizing the functioning of the insects’ hormonal system. Consequently, the earwigs stop eating, and mating (3). Their whole life cycle is disrupted.

cedar cone

Cedar oil works by causing the earwig to suffer from osmotic dehydration and suffocation. Additionally, cedar oil emulsifies the earwig’s body fat, finally killing them. (4)

You can spray the home and basement with cedar or neem oil solution and for outside, cedar wood chippings can be used in flower beds and any other wooded areas.

Quick Notes

  • Keep the foundations dry.
  • Seal cracks in foundation and floorboards.
  • Close holes and cracks in your window screens
  • Caulk cracks in your pipes.
  • Avoid using white bulbs outdoor; use yellow bulbs instead.
  • Since ground level windows provide easy access to earwigs, fix the window screens properly. Weather stripping seals cracks between your windows and window frames.
  • Add cedar wood chippings to your mulch

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