Updated: March 17, 2023

Does Thyme Repel Earwigs?

Earwigs are common garden pests that get their name from the myth that they crawl into human ears at night. In reality, earwigs do not pose any harm to humans, but they can cause damage to plants and flowers in the garden. Many people use chemical insecticides to control earwig populations, but these products can harm beneficial insects and pollinators. As a result, more and more gardeners are turning to natural remedies for pest control, including thyme.

What is Thyme?

Thyme is a herb that is commonly used in cooking due to its strong flavor and aroma. It is a perennial plant that grows up to 30 cm tall and has small leaves and pink or purple flowers. Thyme is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for coughs, sore throats, and digestive issues.

Thyme contains several active compounds, including thymol, carvacrol, and linalool, which have insecticidal properties. These compounds are toxic to insects but safe for humans and pets.

How to Use Thyme to Repel Earwigs

There are several ways to use thyme as a natural repellent for earwigs:

  • Plant thyme in your garden: Planting thyme in your garden can help keep earwigs away. The strong scent of the plant is unpleasant to earwigs and can deter them from entering your garden.
  • Sprinkle dried thyme: Sprinkling dried thyme around the perimeter of your garden or on plants that are susceptible to earwig damage can also be effective.
  • Make a thyme spray: You can make a homemade thyme spray by steeping fresh or dried thyme leaves in water for several hours. Strain the mixture and add it to a spray bottle. Spray the solution on plants that are infested with earwigs.

It is recommended to reapply the thyme spray once a week for maximum effectiveness.

Effectiveness of Thyme Repellent

Several scientific studies have shown that thyme oil and its active compounds are effective against many insect pests, including earwigs. In one study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, researchers found that a thymol-based repellent was highly effective in repelling earwigs.

Compared to other natural remedies such as diatomaceous earth or neem oil, thyme has been shown to be equally effective in controlling earwig populations.

Precautions and Risks

While thyme is generally considered safe for humans and pets, there are some precautions you should take when using it as a repellent. Thyme oil can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people, so it’s important to wear gloves when handling the plant or spraying the solution.

In addition, you should avoid spraying thyme solution on plants that are intended for consumption as it may affect their taste or quality.


Thyme can be an effective natural repellent for controlling earwig populations in your garden. Its active compounds have been shown to repel these pests without harming beneficial insects or pollinators. While there are some risks associated with using thyme as a repellent, taking proper precautions can minimize these risks. If you’re looking for a natural solution for earwig control, consider using thyme as part of your pest management strategy.