▷ Top Natural Remedies for Earwigs

Top Natural Remedies for Earwigs

By Sabrina Wilson / January 17, 2017

It sounds like something out of a horror film: a tiny insect with pincers coming out of its abdomen skulks into your ear, late at night, to lay eggs and raise its spawn. Hearing that is enough to make your skin crawl, but luckily, the oft-repeated tale about the harmless little earwig is just a myth.

These insects are more of a nuisance than anything to humans, wreaking their havoc not on brains, but on beauty — the flowers, foliage and crops you plant are at a much greater risk of destruction.

The earwig can be found on all continents except for Antarctica, so it is spread throughout the globe. The common earwig is often found in the south or the southwestern United States. The earwig can be found as far north as Canada, though few species of earwigs are able to survive outdoors in cold northern climates. 

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Identifying the Earwig

The insects are fast-moving, so you might have a problem seeing them. Evidence of their presence, though, is found in the irregularly shaped holes and excrement left behind in your plant’s leaves, your flower’s petals, and the tunnels in flower buds.

Their favorites?
  • Bean and beet seedlings
  • Butterfly bushes
  • Dahlias
  • Hollyhocks
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Roses
  • Sweet corn silk

They also burrow in compost piles, woodpiles, and basements.

Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Earwigs

Make traps

Earwigs have many different attractions that make it easy for you to trap them. Roll up some newspapers or cardboard and fill them with straw. Tape one end shut. Once they are ready, put them near the affected plants, and each morning, dump everything into a bucket of soapy water. If you have cats, fill the empty cat food cans with about one-quarter of an inch of oil — fish oil, if you can — and place them in the ground near the affected plants. These should also be emptied out each morning.

You can also take food grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it into a two-inch wide circle around the affected plants: at the base of the trees or plants, or near the beds. Each times it rains, you’ll have to reapply the earth, but it will help to attract and trap the earwigs. You might also find more earwigs if you place some lightly colored cloth beneath an affected plant. Earwigs are attracted to light, so if you shake the branches, the earwigs will fall onto the fabric.

Prepare the Environment

Make sure that you have no mulch or debris laying around. Woodpiles should be cleaned up, and compost piles should be kept healthy. You might also consider planting seeds that will grow into plants that attract the only predator for earwigs in North America, the tachinid fly. These flies love alyssum, calendula, dill and fennel.

Put up birdfeeders, as well, since birds will eat the earwigs. Repair gaps and cracks that could be letting earwigs into the house. This includes placing caulk in the spaces in your foundation, siding, doors, and windows. Earwigs can also enter around vents or faucets. If you find them inside, though, earwigs can be easily swept up with a broom or vacuum.

Where to Buy Cedar Oil

For a full range of cedar oil products for use on yards, pets, livestock, humans and more, visit Cedarcide.

Extra Cleaning

Some have found that insecticidal soaps that come in direct contact with the earwigs are effective to get rid of earwigs. These are often made with potassium fatty acids, or you can make it yourself, in a clean spray bottle.

The best recipe is about five tablespoons of a pure soap, like castile soap, to one gallon of tap water. This can be reduced to one large tablespoon of soap for one quart of water. You might also want to add cooking oil, apple cider vinegar, and garlic or pepper, since it will detract earwigs from chewing on the plants.

Essential Oils

When you make your insecticidal soap, you might add essential oil; you can also mix one half-ounce of the essential oils with one gallon of water. For use in the garden and other outdoor areas, you can use:

Once they’ve entered your home, spray essential oils near your house plumbing fixtures, basements, garages, and other areas that tend to be dark and damp. If you find earwigs on your property, you can rest assured that while your brain is safe — your plants most likely are not. Some good essential oils to use inside the house are:

Where to Buy Cedar Oil

For a full range of cedar oil products for use on yards, pets, livestock, humans and more, visit Cedarcide.


Employing some of these natural remedies, though, can help you to protect your crops by getting rid of earwigs. I hope this list was helpful. If you think these remedies can help in your home or garden, comment below, and feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be dealing with earwigs on their property.

About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is an author and homemaker who is passionate about a holistic approach to health. When she is not writing she can be found tooling around in her garden with the help of her appropriately named dog Digby, bicycling in the park, and occasionally rock climbing…badly. Sabrina is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

Monia - August 5, 2017

Your article is not correct… I live in Canada. New Brunswick to be exact and our climate is damn colder than southern USA. We have earwig problems up here, I can say that I have a serious problem with them. You should adjust this information as it is incorrect.

    sybil - August 27, 2017

    What is incorrect about the information? Please be specific. Thanks

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