Updated: April 17, 2023

Earwigs are a common garden pest that can cause significant damage to plants. While there are many methods available for controlling earwigs, some gardeners claim that tangerines can repel these insects. In this article, we will explore the claim that tangerines can repel earwigs and examine the evidence that supports or refutes this claim.


Earwigs are insects that belong to the order Dermaptera. They are characterized by their distinctive pincers, which are used for defense and capturing prey. Earwigs are nocturnal and feed on a wide range of plants and insects. They prefer dark, damp environments and can often be found in soil, mulch, and debris.

The damage caused by earwigs to plants can be significant. They feed on leaves, flowers, and fruit, causing holes and distortion. Earwigs can also damage seedlings by feeding on the cotyledons or emerging leaves.

Common methods used to control earwigs include trapping, baiting, and insecticides. However, some gardeners have turned to more natural methods, such as using tangerines to repel these pests.


Tangerines are a type of citrus fruit that is high in essential oils. These oils contain compounds such as limonene and linalool, which are known to have insecticidal properties. The theory behind using tangerines to repel earwigs is that the scent of the fruit will deter these insects from entering the area.

In addition to repelling earwigs, tangerines have been used for other pest control purposes. For example, citrus oil has been shown to be effective at repelling ants, fleas, and mosquitoes.


There is limited scientific research on the effectiveness of tangerines as an earwig repellent. However, there are anecdotal reports from gardeners who have used this method with success.

One study conducted in Japan found that limonene and linalool were effective at repelling a variety of pests, including ants, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. While this study did not specifically examine earwigs, it suggests that the compounds found in tangerines may have insecticidal properties.

Critics of using tangerines as an earwig repellent argue that the scent of the fruit may only be effective for a short period of time before wearing off. Additionally, there is no evidence to suggest that tangerines will prevent earwig damage to plants.


In conclusion, while there is limited scientific evidence to support the claim that tangerines can repel earwigs, there are anecdotal reports from gardeners who have had success using this method. Tangerines may be worth trying as a natural alternative to chemical insecticides.

However, it is important to note that using tangerines alone may not provide complete protection against earwig damage to plants. Other methods such as trapping and baiting may need to be used in conjunction with tangerine repellents.

Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of tangerine repellents for controlling earwigs in gardens. In the meantime, gardeners should continue exploring alternative methods for controlling these pests in their gardens.