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How To Remove Earwigs From Plants – Answering The Billion Dollar Question

Pincher bugs or Dermaptera or Earwigs, no matter by which name you call them, they are pests which plague our homes when the weather changes. To find food or to find shelter or to find the perfect cold, damp home, earwigs wind up indoors somehow or the other. Distinctive because of the pincers they have, there are over 20 species of earwigs in the U.S. They use the pincers for protection and fight competing earwigs. Earwigs also utilize an odorous liquid to defend themselves. They tend to cluster in massive numbers thanks to the pheromone they produce.
Why Earwig Removal Garden Or Home Is Necessary?
Earwigs who live in the mulch found on flowerbeds or beneath rocks, use as food:

  • live plants
  • wet leaves
  • live sprouts
  • decaying vegetation

Their munching on these plant parts leaves behind holes and jagged ends. In a single night, earwigs can decimate foliage and depart with a goodbye gift of black excrement. Inside a home, they infest:

  • kitchen
  • bathrooms
  • laundry rooms

Any place that is moist or has water is home to pincher bugs. Therefore, even bedrooms are not safe from these pesky little bugs that create a nuisance.

Removing Earwigs From Garden – Easy Tactics

Earwig removal from house kitchen gardens is not a hard task. You can use any of the following methods.
Predators of Nature:

  • Animals:
    There are bound to be some local birds that eat earwigs. Your task is to attract these winged creatures to your garden by putting out food and shelter. Plant bushes that bloom fruits like berries as an invitation to birds. Keep a birdbath for extra help.
  • Build out of the sun areas near your home or the backyard by letting plants grow wild. These crisp, shaded places will make lovely dwellings for toads that in turn will help you control the earwig infestation.


  • Besides cold temperature and tilling of the soil, parasitoids hinder earwig population during winters. It is seen that about 13% of earwig infestation dies during this season. In spring and summer months, cultivating the soil can decrease earwig nymphs by 50 %. Use these parasitoids to increase earwig mortality rate:
  • Bigonicheta Spinipennis or European parasitoid kills 10 to 50% of Earwigs found in British Columbia.
  • Ocytat pallipes grow only inside of pincher bugs and thus cause their death.
  • Fungi have seen to infest earwigs in Oregon and Washington. You can use:
    • Erynia forficulae
    • Metarhizium anisopliae
  • Mermis nigrescens, a nematode, shows 10 to 63% infestation of earwigs in Ontario.

For a large infested colony the most straightforward strategy is a vacuum. Get the gadget ready and apply it to the nest. If you disturb the colony beforehand, the earwigs will scatter in all directions. Keep a note to vacuum the eggs (white objects), too. Empty the vacuum bag in a receptacle that seals. Throw the container immediately.
Diatomaceous earth:
Sprinkling food grade DE around the base of a residence and in the soil of a garden kills earwigs through dehydration. This light on the pocket technique can also be applied inside a home. Just dust your floorboards with it. Make a note not to use pool grade DE as it is not a pesticide.

  • Earwig Traps For Indoors
    Use a holed out shoebox filled with a slight layer of oatmeal to capture earwigs inside a home. The box can be placed near foyer, on patios or in rooms. Remember to close the cover of the box and make the holes at the base of it.

Earwig Traps For Outdoors

  • Use a newspaper to make a roll and then dampen it. Keep this moist newspaper at the root of the tree late in the evening. By morning the wet newspaper would have trapped the earwigs which can then be killed by drowning.
  • Removing earwigs from roses is as simple as placing a tin can filled with 1.25cm of oil near the rose bush. The can you utilize to attract the pincher-bugs has to be shallow. The oil can be olive, coconut, vegetable or cooking. The pests die via drowning.

How To Remove Earwigs From Yards – The Chemical Fight

When traps and other natural methods do not thwart earwig from damaging your home or yards, only then use insecticides. Some of the chemical ways to eradicate earwigs are:

  • Residual Insecticide like boric acid or the mineral form sassolite is a natural pest killer. Spreading it on surfaces, cracks, floorboards, and gaps is recommended. Reapply them every few days as they lose efficacy with the gain of moisture. These insecticides like “orthoboric acid or boracic acid” only kill earwigs when they walk through the powder.
  • Alcohols like isopropanol and ethanol have shown great results in killing earwigs. Rubbing alcohol works best when nothing is added to it. Grain alcohol in 70% strength or the commercial 95% has proven better efficacy. If you apply the higher strength ethanol, then dilute it with water in 1:1.5 ratio. For 70% strength alcohol, the ratio to water is 1:1.
  • Cockroach Spray can also be applied to kill earwigs.
  • Spray and Wash cleaners have shown to kill pincher bugs on contact.
  • Insecticide Dust can be spread over baseboards or inside closets and in tiny hiding location.
  • Aerosol Insecticide is apt for indoor earwig infestation if it is approved for the use.
  • Emulsified Insecticide should be thought of only when sprays are not sufficient. Dissolve it in a vast amount of water and then apply to soil.

How To Use Earwig Insecticide?

  • Spray the base of the building. Keep a distance of 2 feet from the foundation.
  • Debris, mulch and open spaces below ground floor should be totally sprayed.
  • Only use the insecticide spray when the sun is about to set as earwigs come out of shelter only then. Spraying beforehand will make the chemicals inactive.

Preventive Measures For Indoors and Outdoors – Your Final Call
You can keep on killing and removing earwigs from your home and yard, but it won’t make a difference if you don’t prevent future infestations. To ensure that your residence remains earwig free caulk all gaps, cracks, and holes you find in walls, windows, floors, and ceilings. Seal the space around plumbing pipes and electrical wires using mortar. Apply weather strips to window and door frames. Landscape the outdoors by cutting trees and plants adjacent to your house. Get rid of shaded areas by moving all stones, firewood, logs or decorative timber “away from the foundation.”
No Home, No Earwig
The best way to block earwigs from pestering you is to eliminate any place they can call home. Create a dry zone next to the house-base by using gravel. This six to twelve inches wide space should be cleaned regularly and all dead leaf debris and other mulch should be removed. Also, make water spouts and gutters rubbish free zones. When you remove moist soil, you room the shelter of earwigs. Plus fix up any leakages that create humid environments in your home.
Farewell Notes To All Earwigs
Easy things like putting eucalyptus oil on frames and ledges, using only subtle yellow tint lights in open areas and planting deterrent herbs like lemon thyme and basil can take care of all future earwig issues. Each one of them prevents the entry of pincher bugs in your house. Whether you use preventive measures or removal tactics for earwigs, there is no denying that numerous options in our hands. We advise either trapping them and then releasing in the wild or using them to feed your pets.

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