Updated: January 8, 2023

Earwigs are a common household pest that can be found all over the world. They are known for their distinctive appearance, with a pair of pincers on their abdomen, and their habit of hiding in dark, damp places. While earwigs are not harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance when they invade homes and gardens.

One natural remedy that has been suggested for repelling earwigs is capsaicin. But what exactly is capsaicin, and does it really work as an insect repellent?

What is Capsaicin?

Capsaicin is a compound found in chili peppers that gives them their spicy taste. It is also the active ingredient in many topical pain relief creams and patches. Capsaicin works by binding to pain receptors in the body, causing a sensation of heat and pain.

Capsaicin can be found naturally in a variety of plants, including jalapenos, cayenne peppers, and habaneros. It is also commonly used as a food additive, flavoring agent, and natural insect repellent.

When ingested by insects, capsaicin can cause irritation and discomfort. In some cases, it may even lead to death.


Earwigs are nocturnal insects that are often found in damp environments such as under rocks, logs, or potted plants. They feed on a variety of plants and insects, but are not known to transmit any diseases or cause significant damage to crops or structures.

Despite their relatively harmless nature, earwigs have developed a reputation as a nuisance pest due to their tendency to invade homes and gardens in large numbers.

There are many myths about earwigs that suggest they can crawl into people’s ears while they sleep or deliver painful bites with their pincers. However, these claims are largely unfounded and have been debunked by experts.

The Study

To determine whether capsaicin is an effective repellent for earwigs, researchers at the University of California conducted a study using chili pepper extract.

The study involved placing earwigs in petri dishes containing filter paper treated with varying concentrations of capsaicin. The researchers then observed the behavior of the earwigs and recorded whether they moved away from or towards the capsaicin-treated paper.

The results of the study showed that earwigs did indeed avoid the filter paper treated with high concentrations of capsaicin. However, at lower concentrations, the earwigs did not show any significant aversion to the capsaicin-treated paper.


While the study suggests that capsaicin may be effective at repelling earwigs at high concentrations, it is not clear whether this would be a practical solution for homeowners or gardeners looking to control an infestation.

Additionally, it is important to note that there are many other natural pest control methods available that may be more effective or easier to use than capsaicin. These include diatomaceous earth, neem oil, and sticky traps.

In conclusion, while capsaicin may have some potential as an insect repellent for earwigs, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness and practicality in real-world situations.