Updated: April 18, 2023

Earwigs are insects that belong to the order Dermaptera, with over 2,000 species worldwide. These insects are known for their peculiar appearance, with a pair of pincers at the end of their abdomen. They are often found in dark and humid places such as under rocks, logs or in the soil. On the other hand, citronella is an essential oil derived from a variety of plants like lemongrass and is widely used as a natural insect repellent. But can this oil be effective in repelling earwigs? Let’s find out.

What is Citronella?

Citronella is a plant-based essential oil that has a distinct lemony smell. The oil is extracted from the leaves of lemongrass plants or other related species like Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus. Citronella is commonly used as an insect repellent in various forms like candles, sprays, and lotions. Citronella also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it useful in treating skin disorders and infections.

Various Uses of Citronella in Households and Gardens

Citronella can be used in various ways to repel insects and pests from households and gardens. Citronella candles are often used in outdoor areas where mosquitoes and other flying insects are prevalent. Citronella oil can also be mixed with carrier oils like coconut or olive oil to make a DIY bug spray for personal use. In gardens, citronella plants can be grown to repel various insects like aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.

Effectiveness of Citronella as a Natural Insect Repellent

Citronella has been proven to be effective in repelling various insects like mosquitoes, flies, and ants. However, its effectiveness on earwigs may not be as significant as on other insects.

What are Earwigs?

Earwigs are nocturnal insects that feed on both plant and animal matter. They have a distinctive appearance with long antennae and pincers at the end of their abdomen. Earwigs are commonly found in dark and humid places like under rocks or fallen leaves.

Dangers and Damages Caused by Earwigs

Earwigs are considered nuisance pests as they do not cause significant harm to humans or pets. However, they can cause damage to plants by feeding on leaves and flowers. In large numbers, earwigs can cause extensive damage to crops like corn and grapes.

Does Citronella Repel Earwigs?

While citronella has been proven effective in repelling other insects, its effectiveness on earwigs is not well established. Some studies suggest that citronella may repel earwigs, while others show no significant effect.

Personal Experiences and Observations of Using Citronella to Repel Earwigs

Many people claim that using citronella candles or sprays can help keep earwigs away from their homes or gardens. However, personal experiences may vary depending on the severity of the infestation and environmental factors like humidity levels.

Comparing Citronella with Other Natural and Chemical Methods of Getting Rid of Earwigs

Other natural methods like diatomaceous earth or neem oil have been proven effective in controlling earwig populations. Chemical pesticides may also be used but should be used with caution as they may harm beneficial insects or wildlife.

Tips for Using Citronella to Repel Earwigs

To maximize the effectiveness of citronella in repelling earwigs, it’s best to use it in combination with other control methods like removing debris around the garden or sealing cracks around the house foundation. When using citronella candles or sprays, make sure to follow the instructions carefully, and keep them away from children and pets.

Precautions to Take When Using Citronella for Repelling Earwigs

Citronella should only be used externally and should not be ingested or applied directly to the skin without proper dilution. It’s also essential to use high-quality citronella oil or products to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Other Measures to Take Along with Using Citronella to Prevent Infestations of Earwigs

Preventing infestations of earwigs can be achieved by keeping the garden free from debris or clutter that may provide hiding places for these insects. Cracks around the home foundation should also be sealed to prevent entry into the house.


In conclusion, citronella may have some effectiveness in repelling earwigs but should not be relied upon solely for controlling populations of these insects. Using a combination of natural and chemical control methods along with preventative measures can help keep earwig populations under control without causing harm to beneficial insects or wildlife.