Get Rid Of Earwigs

If you have an active earwig infestation, follow these guidelines to get rid of earwigs in your house.

Earwig
Earwig

Earwig Appearance

Earwigs are easily recognizable by their pincers (forceps harmless to humans) at the ends of their abdomen. They are dark reddish‐brown, with light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long.

Earwig Biology and Habits

Biology

In a season, females reproduce up to 20‐60 eggs laid in burrows (called chambers), 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil. Most species have one generation a year, over-wintering in the soil. Both adults and the young require moisture to live.

Habits

  • Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night. They are scavengers, eating mostly dead insects and decomposing plant materials.
  • Some earwig species are attracted to lights.
  • During the day, earwigs will seek shelter under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. Earwigs prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks and stones.
  • Earwigs eat live plants and can do damage to field crops.
  • Earwigs are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows and the foundation.
  • Their populations build up around foundations. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.
  • Earwigs live in habitats that also harbor centipedes, sow bugs (roly-poly), and millipedes.

Key Takeaway

Treating the exterior perimeter is crucial when trying to keep earwigs from entering the structure. Concentrated sprays and granular insecticides are both well-suited to the task.

How To Get Rid Of Earwigs

Earwig
Earwig

Removing earwig habitats is very important to the control of all insects, including earwigs. As they are attracted to lights, it might reduce some of the lightings outside at night.

  • Most insecticide treatment should be done outside with application around the building foundation, flower beds, mulch areas, and turf within a couple of yards of the building and in the crawl space areas of the home.
  • Treat in a three to six-foot band around the building adjacent to the foundation (perimeter treatment) to stop or limit earwigs from getting indoors.
  • Spring and Summer are the best times to apply insecticides.

Recommended products and treatment are:

All these products are odorless and will provide excellent results.

Bifen IT may be used outside only (limited inside usage) and is a recommended insecticide for mosquito and tick control.

Cyper WSP has been a very popular product but has a slightly visible film that can be seen against darker surfaces.

Avest CS is odorless, long-lasting, and may be used in or outside with no visible residue.

If earwigs are coming indoors, use a supplemental treatment such as a crack and crevice aerosol, spraying along the baseboards, beneath cabinets, and other hiding places on the ground level.

Earwig Prevention

  • Because earwigs are attracted to moisture, it is essential to eliminate high moisture areas. Earwigs may be present, although invisible during the day around foundations, in mulch, under stones, boards, etc.
  • Look for ways to eliminate damp, moist conditions, particularly around crawl spaces, faucets, and along the foundations.
  • Rain gutters and spouts should direct water away from the house foundation.
  • Caulk or use weather stripping at all possible entry points such as doors, windows, pipes, and other entry points at the ground level
  • Change landscaping by creating a clean, dry border immediately around the foundation wall. Gravel or ornamental stones can make an attractive barrier against earwigs and other pest invaders.

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.