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15 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Earwigs (Pincher Bugs)

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15 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Earwigs (Pincher Bugs)

A large earwig infestation can damage garden crops. As a result, it is necessary that you get rid of them if you spot many of these pests.

Earwigs (pincher bugs) fall into the insect order Dermaptera [1]. They are found everywhere but Antarctica because they can’t handle the cold. They are dark brown to reddish-brown and have long, flat bodies.

Pincher bugs go through an almost complete change during their one-year lifespan. The female lays eggs and tends to them during the period they take to hatch.

The nymphs look like tiny versions of the adults, except they don’t have wings. After 4 to 5 molts, the nymphs become adults.

How to Get Rid of Earwigs Naturally

Below are the top solutions to get rid of earwigs in the garden, potted plants, and home organically.

1. Soapy Water

This is a simple home remedy for earwigs in the garden. Mix a tablespoon of organic liquid dish soap with a quart of water and pour it into a spray bottle.

Spray the soapy water solution on earwigs, and it will kill them.

2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth works great because it kills earwigs not long after they come in contact with it.

Sprinkle DE around the roots of your crops, potted plants, and other areas where you’ve seen the pests. You can also make it into a spray and coat your plants. Read more on how to make diatomaceous earth spray and use it in the garden.

This is our recommended brand of DE for outdoor use. However, it is best to use food-grade diatomaceous earth to get rid of earwigs in your house, bathroom, mailbox, and other personal spaces.

3. Essential Oils

This is a repelling rather than a killing method, but everything that keeps earwigs away is useful.

To use essential oils to get rid of earwigs, mix 15 drops of an oil like lavender, basil, peppermint, cinnamon, or clove with 4 ounces of water. Next, add it to a spray bottle and spray where these flying bugs with pinchers are hiding.

The scent of these oils repels earwigs. This DIY treatment is great for both indoor and outdoor use.

4. Vinegar

Mixed with water and sprayed around the garden and house, vinegar is a good deterrent for the critters.

Combined with a little liquid soap, vinegar will kill earwigs almost immediately when sprayed directly on them. However, use it with a light hand, as vinegar will likely burn or kill the plants if the solution is too strong.

5. Vacuuming 

Vacuum up the pincher bugs and their eggs and discard them. You can also dispose of the contents in a container of soapy water to suffocate and kill them.

6. Natural Predators

There are quite a few natural earwig predators.

In some areas, tachinid flies have proven to be the most effective predators of earwigs. However, there are others, such as frogs, spiders, centipedes, and some parasitic wasps.

7. Light Trap

To get rid of an earwig infestation, mix up a large bowl of dish soap and water. Next, place it outside at a location where the insects are active at night.

Position a bright light over the container to attract earwigs. They will fall prey to the light and drown in the solution after falling in.

8. Oil and Soy Sauce Trap

For this bait recipe, mix soy sauce and some vegetable oil (in a 50:50 ratio) in a container that has a lid with holes in it. Next, bury it in the ground, making sure the lid is level with the soil level.

Pincher bugs weirdly love the smell of soy sauce and will crawl in to get it. However, the oil will prevent them from crawling back out. They will die soon after.

9. Birds

Another method to control earwigs organically is to attract birds.

Birds that may eat earwigs include bluebirds, cardinals, chickadees, wrens, and others. Therefore, try to attract birds to your vegetable garden.

10. Newspaper Trap

This method is a good use of old newspapers, as they make a very nice shelter for earwigs when damp.

Simply roll several of the newspapers up, ensuring they’re loose so the pests can get into all the folds. Dampen the papers and place them around the garden and house.

Once the earwigs move in, immerse the rolls in a pan of soapy water.

11. Baking Soda Spray

Yet another great use of baking soda in the garden is that this substance is poisonous to many insect pests.

Simply add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to a spray bottle filled with water. Next, add a little bit of liquid soap and shake well.

Use this homemade earwig killer spray around the garden and house. However, don’t spray directly on plants, as too much will likely burn the leaves.

You can also add one part baking soda to three parts soapy water and pour it down the drain to help stop earwigs from coming up.

12. Beer

Make a DIY earwig trap using beer. Bury several empty cans of beer and ensure they are about 1/4 inch below the soil line. Next, pour some stale beer into it (about 1/2 inch).

The smell of the beer will lure in the pests, and they’ll fall in and drown. Also, this beer trap works excellently for slugs and snails.

13. Sticky Traps

Place duct tape (sticky side up) on pieces of cardboard and place them around your plants so that these slender insects will get stuck to them as they try to climb up.

Alternatively, you can buy professional earwig traps like the Stiky Tree Wrap online.

14. Repellent Plants

There are certain plants that repel earwigs from your garden. These include garlic, bay leaves, peppermint, and wormwood. Use these as companion plants or make pest-repellent concoctions out of them.

Additionally, planting herbs and flowering plants such as calendula, fennel, alyssum, and dill will attract the tachinid fly, earwigs’ greatest enemy.

15. Azera

Azera is a great organic earwig pesticide that is safe to spray on plants even on the day of harvesting.

Pyrethrins and azadirachtin are ingredients in this natural insecticide. The product breaks down in sunlight, and you can use it on most fruits and vegetables.

Do Coffee Grounds Repel Earwigs?

Yes. Coffee grounds are great for repelling pests like mosquitoes, snails, and beetles, but you can also use them to naturally get rid of pincher bugs.

The critters hate the intense odor that coffee grounds give off.


Whether you call it an ear wick bug, an ear wings bug, a scissor bug, or a pincher bug, the earwig is an unsightly insect that can cause damage to your plants. They will infest not only your garden but your home as well.

Using one or more of the control methods listed above will help control them naturally.

Image via Flickr

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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