They have wings, but hardly ever fly, and large pincers in the back. Male earwigs have pincers that are more curved than those of females.
A large infestation of earwigs can damage garden crops. As a result, it is necessary that you get rid of them if you spot many.
Earwigs (pincher bugs) fall into the smallest insect order, the Dermaptera. This order has just around 2000 species divided into 3 suborders and distributed amongst 11 families .
They are found everywhere but in Antarctica, because they can’t handle the cold. They range in color from tawny to black and have long flat bodies.
Pincher bugs go through an almost complete change during their one year of life. The female lays eggs and tends to them during the week it takes them to hatch.
The nymphs look like tiny versions of the adults, except they don’t have wings or distinct pincers. However, after 5 to 6 molts, the nymphs become adults and get their wings, pincers, and gender development.
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 few drops of pure organic liquid soap with water and pour it into a spray bottle.
Dawn dish soap can work for this recipe; however, we recommend using organic soap. Spray the soapy water solution on earwigs and it will kill them.
2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth works great because it kills earwigs and other soft-bodied insects not long after they come in contact with it.
Therefore, sprinkle DE around the roots of your crops, potted plants, and other areas where you’ve seen the pests. For the best results, 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 oil like lavender, basil, peppermint, cinnamon, or clove with 4 ounces of water. Next, add 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.
Mixed with water (or used straight) 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.
Suck up all the pincher bugs and eggs you see and dispose of the vacuum bag. You can also dispose of them (eggs and all) 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, wolf spiders, centipedes, and some parasitic wasps.
7. Light Trap
To get down an earwig infestation, mix up a large bowl of liquid soap and water and place it outside at a location where the insects hang out at night.
Position a bright light over the container to attract the critters. 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 half and half soy sauce and some vegetable oil in a small bucket or container that has a lid with holes in it.
Pincher bugs weirdly love the smell of soy sauce and will crawl in to get it. The oil will prevent them from crawling back out.
Another method to control earwigs organically is to employ birds.
Birds love all kinds of insects. A few that eat earwigs include Bluebirds, Cardinals, Chickadees, and Wrens.
Try to attract them to your vegetable garden.
10. Newspaper Trap
This method is a good use of old newspapers as it makes a very nice shelter for earwigs.
Simply roll several up the newspapers, 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, this substance is poison to most pests of crops!
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 baking soda to soapy water and pour it down the drain to stop earwigs from coming up.
Make a DIY earwig trap using beer. Bury several half-empty cans of beer and level the top in line with the ground.
The fruity smell of the beer will lure in the pests and they’ll drown after pitching in. Also, the beer trap works excellent for slugs and snails.
13. Sticky Traps
Place duct tape (sticky side up) on pieces of cardboard and place them around your plants to naturally get rid of pincher bugs.
Alternatively, you can buy professional earwig traps like the Stiky Tree Wrap online.
14. Repellent Plants
There are certain plants that repel earwig insects 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.
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?
While coffee grounds repel some pests like slugs, snails, and ants, we couldn’t find any information to say they repel earwigs. We also haven’t tried it ourselves, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
Whether you call it an ear wick bug, ear wings bug, scissor bug, or pincher bug, the earwig is an unsightly insect that can do a great deal of damage and will infest not only your garden but your home as well.
Using one or more of the control methods listed above will help in getting rid of them naturally.