Updated: April 4, 2023

Earwigs, also known as pincher bugs, are common pests that can be found in homes and gardens. These insects are attracted to dark, damp environments and can cause damage to plants and flowers. Fennel, a herb with a licorice-like taste, has been known to have insect-repelling properties. In this article, we will explore the effectiveness of fennel in repelling earwigs and how it can be used as a natural remedy for earwig infestation.

How Earwigs Behave

Earwigs are nocturnal insects that are most active at night. They are attracted to moist and dark environments such as under rocks, leaves, and debris. Earwigs feed on plants, fruits, vegetables, and sometimes even other insects. They can cause significant damage to crops and flowers if left unchecked.

Factors that attract earwigs include:

  • Moisture: Earwigs thrive in damp environments and are attracted to areas with high humidity.
  • Shelter: They seek out dark and tight spaces to hide during the day.
  • Food: Earwigs are attracted to decaying matter and will feed on anything from plants to dead insects.

What is Fennel?

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family. It is native to the Mediterranean region but is now grown all over the world. Fennel has a long history of use in cooking, medicine, and perfumery. The plant has been found to contain several components that have insect-repelling properties.

These components include:

  1. Anethole: A compound found in fennel oil that has been found to be effective against a variety of insects including mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
  2. Fenchone: A component that has shown repellent properties against termites.
  3. Limonene: A terpene that has been found to repel several insect species including ants and flies.

The Effectiveness of Fennel in Repelling Earwigs

Several research studies have indicated that fennel may be effective in repelling earwigs. In one study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, researchers found that fennel oil was effective in repelling earwigs for up to four hours after application.

Fennel can be used in different forms for repelling earwigs including:

  1. Fennel Oil: Adding a few drops of fennel oil onto cotton balls and placing them in areas where earwigs are likely to hide can be an effective way of repelling them.
  2. Fennel Powder: Sprinkling fennel powder around plants or on soil can deter earwigs from feeding on them.
  3. Fennel Tea: Boiling fennel leaves or seeds in water to make a tea solution that can be sprayed on plants can also help repel earwigs.

How to Use Fennel to Repel Earwigs

To use fennel as a natural remedy for earwig infestation, follow these steps:

  1. Purchase fennel oil or powder from a garden store or online retailer.
  2. If using fennel oil, add a few drops onto cotton balls and place them in areas where earwigs are likely to hide such as under rocks or in crevices.
  3. If using fennel powder, sprinkle it around plants or on the soil around them.
  4. If using fennel tea, boil fennel leaves or seeds in water for several minutes until they release their scent. Allow the tea solution to cool before spraying it on plants.

It is important to note that excessive use of fennel oil or powder may harm beneficial insects such as bees or ladybugs. Therefore, it is recommended to use fennel sparingly and only when necessary.

Other Natural Ways to Repel Earwigs

There are other natural methods that can be used to repel earwigs including:

  • Diatomaceous Earth: This is a powdery substance made from fossilized algae that can be sprinkled around plants or on soil. It works by dehydrating insects when they come into contact with it.
  • Cedar Oil: This essential oil has insect-repelling properties and can be sprayed on plants or used as a barrier around garden beds.
  • Neem Oil: Extracted from the neem tree, this oil has been found to repel several insect species including earwigs.

When compared with other natural methods, fennel has been found to be equally effective if not more so in repelling earwigs.


In conclusion, fennel may be an effective natural remedy for controlling earwig infestation. Its insect-repelling properties have been supported by several research studies. By using fennel oil, powder or tea strategically around plants or garden beds where earwigs are likely to hide, you can effectively deter these pests from feeding on your crops and flowers. However, it is important to use fennel sparingly and only when necessary as excessive use may harm beneficial insects.