Updated: January 21, 2023

Earwigs, also known as pincher bugs or dermaptera, are a common household pest that can cause damage to gardens and crops. While there are many natural and chemical insect repellents on the market, some people claim that agarwood, a fragrant wood used in traditional medicine and perfumery, can repel earwigs. In this article, we will explore the evidence for this claim and discuss the potential benefits and limitations of using agarwood as an insect repellent.

What are Earwigs?

Earwigs are small, flat insects with long antennae and pincers on their rear end. They are typically brown or black in color and range in size from ¼ to 1 inch in length. Earwigs are nocturnal and prefer damp, dark environments such as under rocks or logs, in mulch, or in soil. They feed on small insects, plants, and decaying organic matter.

While earwigs do not pose a direct threat to humans, they can be a nuisance in gardens and crops. They can also cause damage to flowers, fruits, and vegetables by feeding on them or burrowing into them.

What is Agarwood?

Agarwood, also known as oud or aloeswood, is a fragrant wood that comes from the Aquilaria tree. The wood is prized for its unique scent and is used in traditional medicine, perfumery, and spiritual practices. Agarwood is produced when the Aquilaria tree becomes infected with a specific type of fungus. The tree responds by producing a resin that saturates the wood, creating the distinctive aroma.

The chemical composition of agarwood includes various compounds such as sesquiterpenes, phenylpropanoids, and pyrazines. These compounds give agarwood its unique fragrance and may also have insect-repelling properties.

Scientific Studies on Agarwood and Insects

While there is limited scientific research on the insect-repelling properties of agarwood specifically against earwigs, several studies have investigated its effectiveness against other insect species.

One study published in the Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology found that agarwood essential oil was effective against two species of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus. Another study published in the Journal of Insect Science found that agarwood smoke was effective against three species of stored-product pests: Sitophilus zeamais (maize weevil), Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle), and Rhyzopertha dominica (lesser grain borer).

While these studies suggest that agarwood may have insect-repelling properties, there is still limited research on its effectiveness against earwigs specifically.

Personal Experiences with Agarwood and Earwig Repellent

Despite limited scientific research on agarwood’s effectiveness against earwigs specifically, many people claim that it works as an insect repellent. Anecdotal evidence suggests that burning agarwood incense or using agarwood oil can help repel earwigs from homes and gardens.

However, it is important to note that personal experiences may vary based on factors such as the concentration of agarwood used, the severity of the infestation, and the specific species of earwig present.

In addition to agarwood, there are many other natural and chemical insect repellents available on the market. Some common natural repellents include citronella, peppermint oil, and neem oil. Chemical repellents such as DEET are also effective but may pose health risks if used improperly.


In conclusion, while there is limited scientific research on agarwood’s effectiveness specifically against earwigs, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may work as an insect repellent. It is important to note that personal experiences may vary based on several factors including concentration used and severity of infestation.

If you are considering using agarwood as an earwig repellent, it is recommended to do so in conjunction with other pest control methods such as removing damp areas around your home or garden where earwigs may thrive.

Further scientific research is needed to better understand the potential benefits and limitations of using agarwood as an insect repellent.