Pest Control
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How to Get Rid of Earwigs

Discover the secrets to effectively get rid of earwigs in your home and garden! Learn proven methods and expert tips for earwig control. How to get rid of earwig made easy!

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Coleman Spaulding
August 4, 2023
Last Updated:
October 10, 2023
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Coleman Spaulding
August 4, 2023
Last Updated:
October 10, 2023

Identifying a Earwig Infestation

Understanding the signs of an earwig presence, the areas they are commonly found in, and how to differentiate between different earwig species will help us develop an effective strategy for earwig control.

Signs of Earwig Infestation

  • Presence of earwigs in and around the property, especially during the night.
  • Damage to plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables caused by earwig feeding.
  • Finding earwig eggs or nymphs in damp and dark areas, such as under debris or rocks.
  • Noticing a foul odor produced by earwigs when threatened or crushed.

Areas Prone to Earwig Infestation

  • Gardens and flowerbeds with mulch or organic matter, which offer shelter and moisture.
  • Damp and dark spaces like basements, crawl spaces, and areas with poor ventilation.
  • Cracks and crevices in foundations, walls, and window frames that provide entry points.

Differentiating Earwig Species by Signs

  • European Earwig (Forficula auricularia): Characterized by reddish-brown color and prominent pincers on the abdomen.
  • Ring-legged Earwig (Euborellia annulipes): Identified by its slender body and yellow legs with dark rings.
  • Shore Earwig (Anechura harmandi): Found near water sources and recognized by its elongated body shape.

By being able to identify an earwig infestation accurately, we can take the necessary steps to control their population and prevent potential damage to our property and plants. Let's dive into the details of each sub-section and equip ourselves with the knowledge needed to manage earwig infestations effectively.

Removal of Earwigs

Understand the importance of using effective yet eco-friendly solutions to control earwig infestations. Here, we will discuss both non-toxic and chemical approaches, along with safety measures and professional removal services, to help you choose the best strategy for your situation.

Non-Toxic & Eco-Friendly Methods

Baits & Traps:

  • Use rolled-up newspaper or cardboard as simple traps.
  • Place traps in damp areas where earwigs are commonly found.
  • Check and empty traps regularly to prevent re-infestation.

Natural Repellants:

  • Create a solution of water and neem oil or citrus essential oils.
  • Spray the solution around entry points and infested areas.
  • Reapply after rain or as needed to maintain effectiveness.

Non-Toxic Repellant Products:

  • Look for diatomaceous earth or boric acid-based repellants.
  • Apply these products around the perimeter of your home.
  • They work by dehydrating and repelling earwigs.

Biological Control Methods:

  • Introduce natural predators like birds, toads, and spiders.
  • Encourage a diverse ecosystem in your garden to maintain balance.
  • Reduce the use of chemical pesticides that harm beneficial insects.

Chemical & Pesticides


  • Choose chemical pesticides specifically labeled for earwig control.
  • Read and follow the instructions on the product carefully.


  • Wear appropriate protective gear when applying pesticides.
  • Keep children and pets away from treated areas.
  • Store pesticides in their original containers and away from food.

How to Apply Pesticides Effectively:

  • Target areas where earwigs are active, such as moist and dark spaces.
  • Apply pesticides during the evening when earwigs are most active.
  • Reapply as necessary to ensure continued control.

Professional Pest Removal Services:

  • If infestations are severe or non-toxic methods are ineffective, consider hiring professional pest control services.
  • Pest control experts can assess the situation and use targeted strategies for effective earwig removal.

By employing these removal methods, you can address earwig infestations in an environmentally conscious manner while safeguarding your home and garden from these pests. Remember, regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to keep earwigs at bay.

Dealing with Specific Earwig Species

By tailoring our approach to target the unique traits of each earwig species, we can implement the most appropriate and successful methods for getting rid of them. Let's explore how to handle specific earwig species and reclaim your living spaces from these unwanted pests.

European Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

  • Description: The European earwig is one of the most prevalent earwig species in the mid-west. It is easily recognizable by its elongated body and pincer-like cerci at the end of the abdomen.
  • Behavior: European earwigs are adaptable and can thrive in various environments. They are nocturnal scavengers, feeding on both plant material and small insects. They often take shelter in dark and moist areas.

Control Methods:

  • Use sticky traps or rolled-up newspapers to catch earwigs during the night.
  • Create a barrier around your home using diatomaceous earth to prevent earwigs from entering.
  • Remove debris and decaying organic matter near your home to reduce hiding spots.
  • Reduce moisture levels in and around your home by fixing leaks and improving drainage.

Red-legged Earwig (Euborellia annulipes)

  • Description: Red-legged earwigs are commonly found in the mid-west and are easily distinguishable by their reddish-brown color and long legs.
  • Behavior: These earwigs prefer damp environments and are often found in and around gardens and flowerbeds. They are omnivores, feeding on both plant matter and other small insects.

Control Methods:

  • Use yellow sticky traps to capture red-legged earwigs around garden areas.
  • Clear away damp debris and mulch near the garden to reduce favorable habitats.
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around plant stems to prevent earwigs from climbing up.

Ring-legged Earwig (Euborellia cincticollis)

  • Description: Ring-legged earwigs are another common species in the mid-west, distinguished by dark-colored bodies and yellow rings or bands on their legs.
  • Behavior: Ring-legged earwigs share similar habits to other species, seeking moisture and shelter in dark crevices.

Control Methods:

  • Create a barrier around your home using a residual insecticide to prevent ring-legged earwigs from entering.
  • Repair and seal cracks and gaps in doors, windows, and walls to limit entry points.
  • Keep your property well-maintained, removing potential hiding spots and food sources.

By addressing the specific earwig species present in your area, you can tailor your pest control efforts accordingly, effectively managing and eliminating their populations. Implementing targeted control measures will help you reclaim your home and garden from these pesky intruders.

Prevention Measures for Earwigs

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping earwigs at bay in the mid-west region of the USA. By implementing effective prevention measures, you can minimize the chances of earwig infestations and maintain a pest-free environment. In this section, we will explore various strategies to prevent earwigs from invading your home and garden, using eco-friendly and natural solutions where possible.

Regular Cleaning Practices

  • Keep indoor and outdoor areas clean and tidy.
  • Eliminate clutter and debris, as they provide hiding spots for earwigs.
  • Regularly sweep, vacuum, and mop floors to remove potential food sources.

Proper Food Storage

  • Store food in airtight containers to prevent access for earwigs.
  • Clean up food spills and crumbs promptly to avoid attracting them.
  • Empty and clean pet food dishes after feeding to reduce food sources.

Sealing Entry Points

  • Inspect and seal cracks, gaps, and crevices in walls, windows, and doors.
  • Use weather stripping to seal gaps around doors and windows.
  • Check for openings around utility pipes and seal them off.

Ant-Repellant Plants

  • Plant ant-repellant herbs and flowers, such as mint, lavender, and marigolds, around your garden and entryways.
  • These plants emit scents that deter earwigs and other pests.

Natural Solutions

  • Create a barrier of diatomaceous earth around your home and garden.
  • Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans and pets but effectively deters earwigs.

Regular Property Inspection & Maintenance

  • Conduct routine inspections to identify and address potential entry points and infestations early on.
  • Trim vegetation away from the house to reduce potential hiding spots.

Pest Control Subscription

  • Consider subscribing to a professional pest control service for regular inspections and treatments.
  • Pest control experts can customize prevention strategies based on your property's needs.

By implementing these prevention measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of earwig infestations and ensure a comfortable and pest-free environment in your home and garden. Regular maintenance and vigilance are key to keeping earwigs and other pests at bay.

The Different Species of Earwigs

Each species may have unique characteristics and behaviors, which can influence the best approach for managing their populations. By identifying the specific earwig species present in your area, you'll be better equipped to implement targeted strategies to get rid of them and maintain a pest-free environment.

Common Earwig Species in the Mid-West

  • European Earwig (Forficula auricularia): This is one of the most common earwig species found in the mid-western states. It is easily recognizable by its elongated body and pincer-like cerci at the end of the abdomen.
  • Red-legged Earwig (Euborellia annulipes): This species is also prevalent in the mid-west region. It is distinguished by its reddish-brown coloration and long legs.
  • Ring-legged Earwig (Euborellia cincticollis): Another common earwig species in the mid-west, the ring-legged earwig, has distinct rings or bands on its legs.

Characteristics and Behavior of Each Species

  • European Earwig: This species is highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments. They are scavengers and feed on both plant material and small insects. European earwigs are known for their maternal care, with females fiercely protecting their eggs and young nymphs.
  • Red-legged Earwig: These earwigs prefer moist habitats, making them commonly found in damp areas around homes and gardens. They are also omnivores and feed on plant matter as well as other small insects.
  • Ring-legged Earwig: Ring-legged earwigs are similar in behavior to the other species and are typically found in the same environments.

Identification Tips

  • European earwigs have a reddish-brown color and measure around 0.5 to 0.75 inches in length. Their wings are short and are hidden beneath their wing covers.
  • Red-legged earwigs have a reddish-brown body with distinctive long legs, which sets them apart from other species.
  • Ring-legged earwigs have dark-colored bodies and exhibit yellow rings or bands on their legs.

Understanding the different species of earwigs in the mid-west region will help you tailor your pest control efforts to effectively manage and eliminate their populations. By utilizing this knowledge, you can implement specific control methods that target the unique characteristics and behaviors of each species, leading to a successful earwig control strategy.

Everything you should know about Earwigs

Understanding the biology and behavior of earwigs is crucial for effective earwig control and prevention. By gaining insights into their life cycle and habits, you'll be better equipped to implement targeted strategies to keep earwigs at bay and maintain a pest-free environment.

Life Cycle

  • Earwigs undergo incomplete metamorphosis, consisting of three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
  • Adult female earwigs lay their eggs in soil or damp locations, where they hatch within a few days to a few weeks, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Nymphs, or young earwigs, closely resemble adult earwigs but lack fully developed wings and reproductive organs.
  • Nymphs undergo several molts, shedding their exoskeletons as they grow, until they reach adulthood.
  • The life cycle of earwigs typically lasts one year, with most species overwintering as adults or eggs.

Foraging & Feeding Habits

  • Earwigs are nocturnal creatures, primarily active during the night.
  • They are omnivorous scavengers, feeding on both plant matter and small insects.
  • Earwigs are attracted to decaying organic matter, such as compost piles, as well as moist and dark environments.
  • They often forage for food in gardens and crops, occasionally causing damage to fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Seasonal Behavior of Earwigs

  • During the warmer months, earwigs become more active and may seek shelter indoors to escape hot and dry conditions.
  • In the cooler months, they may seek refuge in cracks and crevices in buildings to overwinter.
  • Earwigs are most active during the spring and summer, with their population peaking during these seasons.

Earwigs in the Ecosystem

  • Earwigs play a role in the ecosystem by aiding in the decomposition of organic matter and preying on other pests like aphids and caterpillars.
  • While they can be beneficial in small numbers, excessive earwig populations can become pests in gardens and homes.

Understanding the life cycle, habits, and behavior of earwigs will help you implement targeted pest control strategies to effectively manage earwig infestations. By using this knowledge, you can strike a balance in the ecosystem while protecting your property from earwig-related issues.

Impact of Earwig Control on the Environment

Explore the impact of earwig control on the environment and provide eco-friendly alternatives to effectively manage earwig infestations while minimizing harm to nature.

Environmental Footprint of Chemical Pesticides

  • Chemical pesticides can have adverse effects on non-target organisms and disrupt the ecosystem.
  • Runoff from pesticides can contaminate water sources, impacting aquatic life and wildlife.
  • Persistent chemical residues may harm beneficial insects, birds, and other animals.

Eco-Friendly Pest Control Methods

  • Use natural repellents like diatomaceous earth, neem oil, or essential oils to deter earwigs.
  • Employ physical barriers, such as sticky traps or copper tape, to prevent earwig entry.
  • Attract beneficial predators like birds, toads, and spiders to naturally control earwig populations.

Sustainable Practices for Earwig Control

  • Emphasize cultural practices like garden cleanup and reducing moist areas to discourage earwigs.
  • Introduce beneficial plants that repel earwigs, such as garlic, chrysanthemums, or marigolds.
  • Encourage integrated pest management (IPM) strategies that promote balance in the ecosystem.

By adopting eco-friendly and sustainable earwig control methods, we can protect both our environment and homes from the nuisance of earwigs. Let's work together to create a harmonious coexistence with nature while effectively managing earwig infestations.

How do I get rid of earwigs in my garden?

To control earwigs in your garden, try the following methods:

  • Remove debris and hiding places like mulch and weeds.
  • Set up traps using rolled-up newspapers or cardboard, placed near plants.
  • Apply diatomaceous earth around affected areas.
  • Use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray as a natural repellent.
  • Ensure proper drainage to prevent damp conditions that attract earwigs.

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