Updated: February 19, 2023

Earwigs are one of the most common pests found in gardens and homes. These insects can cause damage to plants and even invade homes, making it important to control their population. While there are many chemical options available for controlling earwigs, some people prefer natural solutions. One such solution is grapefruit. This article will explore whether or not grapefruit is an effective repellent for earwigs.

Earwig Behavior and Habitat

Earwigs are small, elongated insects that have pincers on their tails. They are generally nocturnal and can be found in damp areas such as under rocks, logs or debris, and in flowerbeds. They are attracted to moist environments and feed on plants, insects, and other small organisms.

Grapefruit as a Repellent

Grapefruit has been suggested as a natural repellent for earwigs. Some studies have shown that grapefruit contains a compound called nootkatone, which has insecticidal properties. When applied to plants, nootkatone repels a variety of insects including ants, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Scientific studies on grapefruit and earwigs

There is limited research on the effectiveness of grapefruit as an earwig repellent. However, a study published in the Journal of Pest Science found that nootkatone was effective at repelling earwigs in laboratory conditions.

How grapefruit works as a repellent

Grapefruit works by emitting a scent that repels insects. The exact mechanism of how nootkatone repels earwigs is not fully understood but it is believed to interfere with their feeding behavior.

Advantages and disadvantages of using grapefruit

One advantage of using grapefruit as a repellent is that it is a natural solution that does not harm the environment or other non-target organisms. However, grapefruit may not be as effective as chemical options and may need to be applied more frequently.

Other Natural Repellents for Earwigs

There are several other natural repellents that can be used to control earwigs:

  • Essential oils: Oils such as lavender, peppermint, and tea tree can be used to repel earwigs.
  • Diatomaceous earth: This powder made from fossilized diatoms can be sprinkled around plants to repel earwigs.
  • Other plants and herbs: Plants such as catnip, sage, and rosemary have been suggested as natural repellents for earwigs.

Tips for Controlling Earwigs

Prevention measures are the best way to control earwig populations:

  1. Clean up debris: Remove any debris from around plants or areas where earwigs may hide.
  2. Reduce moisture: Fix any leaks or sources of moisture in your home or garden.
  3. Use barriers: Place sticky traps or barriers around plants or areas where earwigs may enter your home.

If prevention measures do not work, traps and baits can be used to control earwig populations. Chemical options should be used only as a last resort.


While there is limited research on the effectiveness of grapefruit as an earwig repellent, it may be worth trying as a natural solution. Other natural repellents such as essential oils and diatomaceous earth can also be effective at controlling earwig populations. Prevention measures should always be used first before resorting to traps or chemical options.