When seeing earwigs, people tend to be hysterical as they think that this bug resembles scorpions and thus, possess as dangerous venom as scorpions do. Earwigs do have a slender exoskeleton and a set of pincers attached to its abdomen. However, these pincers are not poisonous and hence, are quite harmless. When agitated, earwigs may use these pincers to defend themselves. Yet, those can hardly break the skin and hurt us severely. If these pincers do break the skin, causing an open wound, one can apply treatments for scratch or cut wound. One thing to be paid attention to is that this “pincer attack” may spread germs earwigs carrying from the place they are living in—the damp soil so that it is important to make sure the hygiene of the wounded area.
Earwigs commonly live outdoor and rarely cause large infestation indoor. They are not tiny and usually wander outside the house without any intention of infesting certain spot indoor. Compared to bees or ants, earwigs are definitely less sociable. They do not live in a big colony with certain queen or leader. Hence, there will not be an infestation centered in single spots, as earwigs do not build any nest as well. For this reason, you might see some earwigs wondering around the garden or inside the house, yet it will not be easy to determine a single place to treat for getting rid of the bugs. However, there are some areas, especially outdoor which are more susceptible to be used as earwig hiding place. To inspect the existence of earwigs around the place you are living, pay attention to some practical things:
- Earwigs favor a place—house or garden with moist soil around. In fact, young earwigs cannot tolerate dry areas exposed to direct sunlight for a long period. For this reason, earwigs commonly hide under a pile of decayed leaves and plant scraps.
- Earwigs have got a flexible abdomen which enables them to move quickly, even in small, tight areas. As a result, earwigs might be found infesting small holes in rotten tree stumps, or even in peeled tree trunk skin.
- Earwigs need a covered, moist environment, and in the garden, tender soil can be a perfect hiding place, especially for young ones. Hence, they might be hiding in the soil in between large bushes and weeds.
- Earwigs rarely infest the indoor area, unless you have a very moist basement or attic. However, they might wander indoor, giving an illustration of infestation. Despite this, homeowners might see some earwigs inside the house, and this is a scary view. In fact, earwigs prefer outdoor areas, in which food source—smaller bugs, and moist soil present to support their lives. However, some conditions might bring them inside, although this will be an unintentional infestation of earwigs.
- Earwigs move indoor because the temperature drops excessively. The extremely low temperature outside forces earwigs to move inside, seeking for warmth. As a result, you might spot several earwigs around the walls and other moist areas inside the house.
- Earwig infestation inside the house might occur because you possibly bring them in from some wet card boxes or plant pots outside. You might find one or two earwigs surprising you while accidentally disturbing their habitats.
- You might also possess a basement or attic which gets damp and moist during colder seasons. If you also place a lot of clutters in these locations, earwigs might find it the perfect place to spend their winter.
Seeing the limited possibility of an intentional earwig infestation, you will likely see them accidentally instead of as a sign of bigger infestation. However, in colder weather, earwigs might move inside looking for warm shelter. Hence, preventions, as usual, become an important thing to do. Regular treatments performing earwig control should be done to prevent the bugs from using our spaces to hide. Earwig control can be done through some methods, such as:
- Earwigs are attracted to lights. Hence, minimize lights in your porch and balcony at night, since they tend to gather around the lights during the night. Change white fluorescent bulb into a yellow bulb, which is less attractive for insects.
- Earwigs are able to get into the house through small spaces, holes, and cracks on the walls. To avoid this:
- Caulk the cracks and crevices visible on the walls
- Install a fine wire mesh on the window and make sure the mesh does not have any holes. Fix it immediately once encountered.
- The best controlling method to eliminate the entire population is by removing the place where they are hiding. To do this:
- Remove all possible clutters and things which provide sufficient moisture for earwigs to survive, such as damp tree logs, firewood piles, and decayed leaf piles.
- Trim bushes and tree branches providing shades near the house.
- Check pipes around the house and fix any leaking faucets to avoid water dripping causing over humidity.
- Check gutter outside the house. Make sure there is no stuck water inside it. Remove decayed leaves and garden debris brought by rain into the gutter. In the end of the gutter, drop gravels to cover damp soil.
- Grow preventive plants around the house and place them near windows and doors. Strong-smelled plants, such as mints, lemon thyme, and other herbs are natural earwig repellents you can give a try.
Earwig infestation, in fact, is not a common thing. These insects rarely invade houses and choose to live outdoor, unless your house has those conditions they prefer, such as excessive moisture and clutters. Performing above controlling methods regularly should be enough to minimize the possibility of infestation at the house. However, if the infestation has already existed around the house, you might want to know how to get rid of these earwigs.
Getting rid of earwigs
Trapping earwigs in the garden
In the garden, earwig infestation can be a nuisance. They might damage plants by feeding on the leaves, causing holes on eaten leaves. Earwigs do possess wings but do not use them to fly. Hence, this is beneficial for us, because we can create traps targeted to these insects. What you need are:
- A shallow can—a canned tuna can, cat food can, or any shallow plastic containers.
- Vegetable oil or old grease.
- Soy sauce.
To make the trap, first, make sure your container measures 2 to 3 inch so that earwigs can climb onto it. Cut any excess with scissors—if you are using plastic ones. Afterward, pour vegetable oil or any other oils you are using into the container, filling 2/3 part of it. Dig a hole near the eaten plants you are planning to protect and place the container inside the hole, making sure it is completely buried. Fill dirt around the container lip.
The trap works by attracting earwigs with soy sauce to make them climb into the container to feed on the liquid. At the same time, the oil traps them with its sticky structure, making earwigs unable to climb back out and eventually die. Dispose of the trap immediately in the morning to avoid any other attracted insects and bugs.
A can of soda, in addition, can also be used to trap earwigs foraging in your garden. The principle is similar—trapping earwigs with the soda and at the same time, drown them. To make this simple trap, you need a can of soda. Drink 1/3 part and put the opened soda can inside a dug hole around your plants. Dispose of the can filled with dead earwigs immediately.
Controlling earwigs can also be done by feeding them to their natural predators, either toads or birds. To help you getting rid of earwigs in the garden, encourage these predators to come to the garden by:
- Placing a bird feeder, a nest box, or a clean bird bath in your garden. Put in some food in the feeder to attract them to come in a daily basis.
- Setting up some bricks on the ground and put a plant on the laid bricks. Put in a water bowl adjacent to the bricks to attract toads. However, do not buy toads to be released in the garden since they might be a new nuisance, instead.
Trapping earwigs inside the house
Should earwigs infest your garden and eventually move into your house, set a cockroach or other sticky traps placed in some spot preferred by the critters, such as beneath the sink, near the windows—especially those with cracks and gaps, and other damp or humid places. Dispose of traps with dead earwigs immediately.
Aromatherapies can also be remedies for indoor earwig infestation. To perform this aromatherapy method, you will need:
- A sprayer bottle
- Peppermint oil
- Eucalyptus oil
Mix 5 drops of peppermint and 10 drops of eucalyptus with 500 mL of water in a sprayer bottle. Shake well, making sure they are all mixed thoroughly. To repel existing earwigs, spray the mixture directly on encountered critters, or cracks on the wall and window frames.
To prevent earwigs from infesting indoor, put the mixture on an aromatherapy burner to spread the smell around the house, keeping earwigs at the bay.
Spreading Diatomaceous Earth
The DE provides a barrier against various kinds of pests, either indoor or outdoor. Food graded DE is even harmless to both humans and house pets, making it an excellent repellent for many insects and bugs. Diatomaceous earth works by tearing their exoskeleton using its sharp edges, leaving them eventually dead. To get rid of earwigs both indoor and outdoor, spread DE around the places susceptible to their infestation, especially in the attic, basement, fireplace, and other places with excessive moisture.
If you cannot find the DE near your place of living, you can replace this repellent material with egg shells. What you need are:
- 10 egg shells
- A blender or food processor
Ground the egg shells using a blender or a food processor for 3 to 5 minutes, letting those crushed in a tiny size. If you are able to make it into a powdered type, it is even better. Spread these grounded egg shells onto the surfaces prone to earwig attack.
Using chemical sprays
If you have a severe earwig infestation inside the house, and all natural remedies do not seem to work well, it may be the time to give chemical sprays a try. Use any ant repellent, mosquito spray, or cockroach spray to perform this chemical method. However, put in mind that it is going to leave a toxic residue, so do not apply it excessively. Once you have managed to get rid of earwigs using chemicals, immediately perform the preventive methods for inhibiting any further re-infestation.