Are you looking for a few natural and effective methods to get rid of earwigs from your home, garden & flowerbeds?
Earwigs are certainly not one of the more beloved insects to roam the planet. With their long, slender mid-section and a set of menacing pinchers protruding from their backside, they can look quite intimidating.
The good news is that they are relatively harmless to humans and pets. There are, of course, many legends of the earwigs supposed evil intentions. The one most often bantered about is that they like to enter the ear canal and wind their way right into the brain. Thankfully, that is only a legend!
With over twenty species of earwigs that can inhabit nearly any climate, they can be found in nearly every geographical area. When you add in that they like to live close together and in large populations, they can certainly become a nuisance one they establish in an area.
But even though they may not pose the threat of personal injury to humans, earwigs can cause significant damage in gardens and flowerbeds. Especially if they are allowed the opportunity to build a sizable population.
Earwig Damage – How To Get Rid Of Earwigs
In the vegetable garden, earwigs will tear holes into the foliage a wide range of plants. But they don’t stop there. They also will chew on blooms, flowers, and even the vegetables themselves. In fact, when it comes to sweet corn and popcorn, they are quite adept at chewing off the silk and husk as the corn matures.
Earwigs pose much of the same issues to perennials and annuals as well. They are quite fond of feasting on blooms and flowers, and will chew on the leaves too.
Fortunately, the damage they leave behind in gardens and flowerbeds is not fatal. But with that said, it can certainly cause unsightly foliage and reduce bloom sets on plants. In the case of vegetables, it can also damage a fair number of the fruit if their population is large enough.
Inside Invasions of Earwigs – How To Get Rid Of Earwigs
It would be bad enough if the tiny crawling creatures kept to the outdoors, but unfortunately, when conditions begin to get a little hot and dry outdoors, earwigs love to come inside.
Earwigs like moist, humid, dark conditions best. Basements, garages and bathrooms usually provide more than enough moisture for their liking. And once inside, they can multiply quickly.
Although they are not carriers of disease or destructive to wood or other materials, they are not exactly “fun” to discover inside the home. There is just something about those pinchers that make most folks jump back a bit upon discovery!
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs – Inside & Out
Although there are commercial pesticides that can be used to control earwigs, they have their limitations. In the garden and landscape, insecticides are non-discriminatory. That means along with killing the earwigs, you are also eliminating many of the beneficial insects as well.
As for inside the home, using pesticides can be a big concern for those living within the home. Especially if children and or small pets live in the residence. With that in mind, here is a look at how to get rid of earwigs naturally, both inside and outside of your home.
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs – Inside
One of the easiest ways to stop earwigs from coming indoors is to eliminate any possible living quarters. Keep basements and garages clear of debris on the floor where they can easily hide. In addition, dehumidifiers work well to eliminate the moisture they need and love. If there is no moisture, there will be no earwigs.
Earwigs love to reside in mulch. So if you happen to have mulch right up to the edge of your house, it gives them easy access to make their way inside. Consider pulling the mulch back from the foundation a few inches to make it more difficult. You can also add a few inches of stone or gravel next to the foundation to create a barrier.
For even better protection, sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) around the perimeter of your foundation. Diatomaceous earth is 100% organic. It is made up of tiny fossilized plankton and algae. (Product Link: Diatomaceous Earth)
The tiny crystals that make up DE are quite jagged on a microscopic level. When they come in contact with an insects outer layer, it removes their protective coating. As it does, the insect can’t retain moisture and eventually dies.
DE will only work when it is dry, so it will need to be applied after rains. The good news is that is not harmful to pets or children, so it is safe to use as a barrier. Even better, it can keep other insects from entering your home too!
How To Get Rid Of Earwigs Outside
As mentioned prior, earwigs love moist, humid, damp and dark conditions. Just as with an indoor environment, the first step to controlling them outdoors is to reduce or eliminate their favorite habitats.
Start by eliminating brush piles from near the home and garden. In addition, if at all possible, move any stacked wood far away as well. Both of these are prime homes for earwigs to live in comfort. In addition, if you compost, turn your compost pile often to keep it active. Earwigs won’t go near an active compost pile due to the heat.
Using Dish Soap & Water
One of the easiest ways to stop earwigs in their tracks is with ordinary dish soap and water. Three to four drops of liquid soap mixed with a gallon of water makes an effective spray. When the soapy water comes in contact with the earwigs outer skin layer, it has much of the same effect as DE.
Homemade Earwig Traps – How To Get Rid Of Earwigs
You can also make a few simple traps to place in your garden at night to control earwig populations. One of the easiest is to simply roll up newspaper or paper ads into a tube like form. Wet the papers and then place in your flowerbeds at night near plants.
The next morning, simply unroll the paper into a bucket of soapy water. It is amazing just how many earwigs this can trap! To make the trap even more effective, put a little ketchup inside. Earwigs are drawn to the scent and will stay for the moisture.
In Ground Traps
You can also make a trap with a paper cup, soy sauce and olive oil. Mix a few teaspoons of each ingredient and place into the cup. Bury the cup in your soil up to the soil level. The earwigs love the ingredients and the oil will keep them in the trap.
Diatomaceous earth can also be a great way to control earwigs in garden and flowerbeds as well. One thing to remember outdoors is that it also kills the beneficial insects it comes in contact with. With that in mind, only use if a serious infestation is present.
Here is to getting rid of earwigs from the inside and outside of your home this year! For more on battling pests in the garden and landscape, check out our Pests category on the blog.
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