Updated: June 10, 2023

Earwigs also known as pincer bugs are small insects that can be found in homes and gardens. They are known for their distinctive pincers and can cause damage to plants by feeding on their foliage. If you have an infestation of earwigs, it is important to take steps to control and prevent them. In this article, we will provide tips on how to get rid of earwigs, control their population, and prevent future infestations.

Signs of an Earwig problem

The most common sign of an earwig infestation is their presence in your home or garden. They are small, dark brown insects with pincers located at the end of their bodies. You may also notice damaged plants or vegetables in your garden as they feed on foliage. If you find large numbers of earwigs, it is likely that they have been breeding and you may have an infestation on your hands.

How to get rid of Earwigs

If you find earwigs in your home or garden, it is important to act quickly in order to eradicate them. The best way to get rid of earwigs is to use insecticide sprays or dusts. These will kill the adult earwigs as well as any eggs they may have laid. Additionally, you can use traps such as sticky traps or baits that contain boric acid or diatomaceous earth. These will attract the earwigs and trap them so they can be disposed of easily.

There are several methods you can try to get rid of earwigs, including the following:

Set up physical barriers

Earwigs can crawl through small spaces, so sealing cracks and gaps in your home’s foundation, windows, and doors can help prevent them from getting inside.

Remove their hiding spots

Earwigs like to hide in moist, dark places, so removing piles of leaves, wood, or debris from around your home can make it less attractive to them.

Use traps

You can make or purchase earwig traps, which are usually made of cardboard or paper and coated with a sticky substance.

Apply insecticides

If you have a severe earwig infestation, you may need to use insecticides to kill them. Be sure to follow the label instructions carefully when using these products.

Natural remedies: There are also a number of natural remedies you can try to get rid of earwigs, including diatomaceous earth and essential oils.

How to prevent Earwigs (Pincer Bugs)

Once you have eliminated the existing earwig infestation, it is important to take measures to prevent them from returning.

There are several methods you can use to prevent earwigs from entering your home:

  1. Seal any cracks or gaps around the foundation of your home, as well as any openings around doors and windows. This will help to prevent earwigs from finding their way inside.
  2. Keep outdoor areas clean and free of clutter, as earwigs are attracted to moist, dark areas.
  3. Remove any wood piles or other debris near the foundation of your home, as these can provide shelter for earwigs.
  4. Repair any damaged screens on windows and doors, as earwigs can squeeze through small openings.
  5. Use a chemical spray or bait around the perimeter of your home to help keep earwigs at bay.
  6. Planting certain types of plants, such as dill, fennel, or sweet woodruff, can help to deter earwigs.
  7. Use a dehumidifier to keep the air inside your home dry, as earwigs are attracted to moist environments.
  8. Install weatherstripping around doors and windows to help prevent earwigs from entering your home.

What attracts Earwigs

Earwigs are attracted to damp areas with plenty of organic matter such as mulch, compost piles or leaf litter. Additionally, they love dark and moist places such as cracks and crevices in walls or underneath rocks or logs. Finally, they are also attracted to lights at night so you may find them around outdoor lighting fixtures or near windows if they are not properly sealed.

What do Earwigs eat?

Earwigs feed on plants, flowers and vegetables as well as other insects such as aphids or caterpillars. They will also eat decaying organic matter such as dead leaves or wood chips which makes mulch a popular hiding spot for them.

Related article: The Benefits of Earwigs

Where do Earwigs hide?

Earwigs prefer dark, moist places such as cracks in walls or underneath rocks and logs. Additionally, they will hide out in moist areas such as mulch piles or compost heaps during the day and come out at night when it is cooler to feed on plants or other insects.

The lifecycle of a Earwig

The lifecycle of an earwig begins with eggs that are laid by the female during the summer months. The eggs hatch into larvae which then molt several times before becoming adult earwigs about two months later. The adults then begin breeding and laying eggs again, starting the cycle over again.

Related article: The Earwig Life Cycle

Frequently Asked Questions

Are earwigs hard to get rid of?

Earwigs can be a nuisance, but they are not generally considered to be difficult to get rid of. If earwigs are found inside a home, they can usually be removed by using a vacuum cleaner or by removing them by hand and releasing them outside. To prevent earwigs from returning, it is important to seal any potential entry points, such as gaps around pipes and windows, and to keep the home and surrounding areas clean and free of debris.

In outdoor areas, earwigs can be controlled by removing potential hiding places, such as rocks, logs, and debris, and by reducing moisture levels in the soil. Pesticides can also be used to control earwigs, but it is important to follow label instructions carefully to avoid harming non-target insects or causing other unintended consequences.

Are Earwigs Nocturnal?

Yes, earwigs are nocturnal creatures and typically come out at night to search for food. During the day they will hide in dark places such as crevices or under rocks where it is cool and damp.

Can earwigs come up through drains?

It is possible for earwigs to enter homes through drains, as they are able to crawl through small spaces and are attracted to damp, dark environments. Earwigs may enter drains from outside the home or from within the plumbing system. In some cases, earwigs may also be accidentally introduced into homes through potted plants that have been infested with earwigs.

To prevent earwigs from entering homes through drains, it is important to keep drains clean and free of debris, and to make sure that all potential entry points, such as gaps around pipes and windows, are sealed to prevent earwigs and other pests from entering. If earwigs are found in a home, they can usually be removed by using a vacuum cleaner or by removing them by hand and releasing them outside.

Can earwigs make you sick?

Earwigs are not known to transmit diseases to humans or pets. They do not bite, so they cannot transmit diseases through a bite. In general, earwigs are not harmful to humans and do not pose a health risk.

Can you feel an earwig pinch?

No, earwigs do not have the ability to pinch humans. Earwigs are small insects that have pincers on their abdomen. These pincers, which are also known as forceps, are used by earwigs to defend themselves against predators and to capture prey. However, they are not powerful enough to pinch human skin. Earwigs are not aggressive insects and will only use their pincers as a last resort when they feel threatened. If you see an earwig, you can safely pick it up and move it outside without worrying about being pinched.

Do earwigs like towels?

There is no specific information available to suggest that earwigs have a preference for towels. Earwigs are attracted to damp, dark, and secluded places, so it is possible that they may seek shelter in towels that are left damp and in a dark area, such as a damp towel left on a bathroom floor. However, this is not a common occurrence and earwigs are more likely to hide in other types of damp, dark places such as under rocks, logs, and debris, in cracks and crevices, or in gardens and landscaping.

Do Earwigs Eat Each Other?

Yes, earwigs can be cannibalistic. This usually occurs when food sources are limited or when an individual is injured or weakened. It’s important to note that cannibalism isn’t a regular behavior in healthy populations; rather it’s only seen in extreme cases of starvation or stress.

Do Earwigs lay eggs?

Yes, female earwigs lay eggs during the summer months which then hatch into larvae after about two weeks. The larvae molt several times before becoming adult earwigs about two months later when they begin breeding and laying eggs again starting the cycle all over again.

Do Earwigs Make Noises?

There are a few species of earwigs that are known to make noise, but it is generally not a common behavior among earwigs. The most common type of noise that earwigs make is a chirping or chirping-like sound, which is produced by some males during mating season. However, this behavior is not observed in all earwig species and is not a common occurrence. In general, earwigs are not known to be particularly vocal insects and do not produce a significant amount of noise.

Do Earwigs Have Any Natural Predators?

Earwigs have a few natural predators including birds, frogs, lizards, and spiders. They also occasionally fall prey to their own kind and will cannibalize one another in times of starvation or overcrowding.

How Do You Get Rid of Earwigs?

If you find yourself dealing with an infestation of earwigs, there are several steps you can take to get rid of them. Start by removing sources of moisture such as leaky pipes or clogged gutters. Next, seal off any cracks in your foundation and windowsills with caulk or steel wool. Finally, set up traps baited with vegetable oil or molasses near areas where earwigs have been seen. Vacuuming up the insects is also an effective method of eradication.

Do earwigs crawl in your ear at night?

No, earwigs do not crawl into people’s ears at night. Earwigs are small insects that live in a variety of habitats, including gardens, forests, and fields. They are attracted to damp, dark places and are often found in moist soil or under logs and rocks. While earwigs may be attracted to homes, they do not crawl into people’s ears or any other body cavity. There is no scientific evidence to support the myth that earwigs crawl into people’s ears at night.

It is possible that an earwig may accidentally crawl into your ear while you are outside, but this is very unlikely. If an earwig does happen to crawl into your ear, it would be easy to remove it by gently flushing the ear with water or by using tweezers to gently remove it. If you are having trouble removing an earwig from your ear, or if you are experiencing pain or discomfort, you should seek medical attention.

What size are Earwigs?

Earwigs are usually between 6-25 mm long depending on the species although some species can grow larger than this. They usually have a dark reddish-brown body with pincers located at the end of their body which they use for defense against predators.

What time of year are Earwigs most active?

Earwigs are most active during late summer and early fall when temperatures begin to cool down and moisture levels increase. During this time they will be actively breeding and laying eggs which will hatch into larvae about two weeks later.

Where do earwigs hide during the day?

Earwigs are nocturnal insects, which means they are active at night and sleep during the day. During the day, earwigs typically hide in dark, damp, and secluded places to avoid predators and to conserve energy.

Some common places where earwigs hide during the day include:

  1. Under rocks, logs, and other debris: Earwigs often seek shelter under rocks, logs, and other debris during the day. This provides them with protection from the elements and from predators.
  2. In cracks and crevices: Earwigs are small insects, so they can easily hide in cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and other structures. They may also hide in crevices in tree bark or in leaf litter on the ground.
  3. In gardens and landscaping: Earwigs may hide in gardens and landscaping during the day, particularly in moist areas such as under pots, in mulch, or in areas with dense foliage.
  4. In homes: If earwigs find their way inside a home, they may hide in dark, damp places such as basements, crawl spaces, and under sinks.

It’s important to note that earwigs are not harmful to humans and are actually beneficial to gardens and outdoor areas as they feed on a variety of insects, including aphids and other pests.

What are the Pincers Used For?

The pincers of the earwig are primarily used for defense and as a tool for catching prey. The pincers can deliver a painful pinch if handled carelessly and can be used to ward off predators. Earwigs also use their pincers to capture small insects such as aphids and other arthropods for food.


Earwigs can be controlled through the use of insecticides, traps, and physical barriers. Natural remedies such as diatomaceous earth and essential oils can also be effective in eliminating earwigs. To prevent earwigs from returning, it is important to keep your garden free of debris and mulch, seal potential entry points in your home, and use regular insecticide treatments. By following these tips, you can effectively control and prevent earwig infestations in your home and garden.