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PhotobucketWe’ve talked about how to get rid of Japanese beetles a lot lately, but dkMommy Spot reader Leane says her problem is the earwig.  She emailed me to ask how to get rid of earwigs naturally, since her new house seems to have lots of them, both inside and out.  Well, Leane, I don’t like earwigs either.  So I did a little research, and I’ve got some helpful information for you.  (I’m not thrilled about the earwig picture here, so just put a Post-It note over it while you read.  I figured someone may not know how icky these guys look, so there’s the picture just in case.)

First of all, earwigs aren’t going to build a nest in your house.  They just like to wander in and make you scream when you pull back the shower curtain.  So if you make sure there are no little holes or openings in or around screen doors and windows, that’s the best step to deterring them from paying you a visit.  

Earwigs like damp, dark places, especially outdoors.  Keep the area around the perimeter of your house free of leaf piles, log piles, etc. If the problem is pretty severe, you can invest in putting pebbles around the border of your house, but I’d say you’d have to be darned anti-earwig for that sort of treatment.  Adding bird feeders and birdbaths will bring in birds that like earwigs for dessert.  (A great way to cut down on mosquitoes too!)  And if those ugly bugs are eating your marigolds, roses, and other plants, take an empty tin can (short, like for tuna fish) and put about 1/4 inch vegetable oil in there.  Some people suggest a dab of bacon grease too, but since this is a health blog, I would probably lose my reputation by suggesting it.  (No, soy products don’t cut it for earwigs.)

Lastly, know that even if they do get in your house, earwigs will NOT climb into your ear and look for lunch while you sleep.  An old wives tale that gave me the creeps as a child and is fortunately just not true.  There you have it; a few natural remedies on how to get rid of earwigs without resulting to pesticides and other nasties, which incidentally, the earwig must walk through first before it works.  And since earwigs are not known for wiping their feet first before entering a house, they’d be tracking chemicals in on your carpet.  No one likes a carpet full of earwig repellant.  Opt for the natural.

Like this simple remedy on how to get rid of earwigs naturally?  Get more home and herbal remedies, chemical free living tips, and green giveaways! Subscribe to dkMommy Spot.

32 Comments

  1. Well I am glad to know they are not nesting inside! I am renting currently, and we just moved in, so I will go on patrol for their little entry spots…..maybe the door strip? I am definetly going to set up some tuna can oil traps around the perimeter too. Can I leave those outside? Do they attract other bugs(like roaches, yuck)? I am a germaphobe and a clean freak, so I don’t like the idea of spraying any pesticides in the house.

  2. Yes, definitely check the door strip. You can set those cans around the perimeter outside and leave them, and I don’t think it should cause any problems for you if you change them regularly. I think the bacon grease idea is a little gross. It may work, but can you imagine the smell when a breeze goes over? Besides, with bacon grease you may get rid of earwigs and call in the raccoons!

  3. OK——this remedy doesn’t catch earwigs as much as it attracts those little sugar ants. So now I have the same earwig problem and an ant problem too.

    So, I was wondering if Baking Soda or Borax will work. I believe I may have to use some of the earwigs as torture victims to see what will kill or repel them. I may be required to tap into my darker side………….

    If there are any others with experience I would love to get ideas.

  4. When you have a little (1/2′”) vegetable oil in the can, put a piece of apple or potato (aged) in the middle of the oil as an attractant.

  5. earwigs eat the roots of many plants…1 tbs of ordinary dishsoap ie. dawn or joy in a gallon of water along with your normal fertilizer will kill these boys in 20 seconds flat!

  6. Please go to this webpage and take a look at what I found: http://blogs.lib.ncsu.edu/insects/entry/surprise_earwig_report

    Scroll down and you’ll see an X-ray. I don’t know how to link to it, so you can copy and paste into searh and it’ll take you there.

    X-ray reveals aural earwig infestation (arrow); authors speculate that, given the size of that specimen, it’s a queen that got trapped laying eggs. Early instar soldiers (inset) guard the entrance of the ear canal, protecting a nest near the brain.

    G. Fälschung and A. P. Gracejo from Conte Grand Hospital (Switzerland) reported in the April issue of the Swiss Journal of Emergency Medicine that several children in southern Europe needed medical assistance for – get this – aural earwig infestations. Not only were earwigs living in their ear canals, but they were apparently imbibing hemolymph in well established “nests” sealed off with wax. (shudder) Several ears even showed evidence of burrowing by the wayward dermapterans, with at least one early instar earwig extracted from deep within the cochlea of one patient and eggs reportedly clustered on the temporal lobe of another. (yikes) Symptoms were described as “general irritation, scratching and ‘popping’ sounds, bloody discharge, dizziness, hearing loss, insomnia, depression, and, in one case, mild cognitive decline” (pg. 124).

    Of course this phenomenon shouldn’t be a total surprise. These insects have, afterall, been reported from children’s ears right here in the US – though this particular occurance is sold as an accidental inhabitance. Some earwigs are known to feed on the blood of bats (i.e., they are obligate parasites), and the burrowing blood-sucking habits of these species (subordinal taxonomy is not included; I guess it’s not important in medicine…ugh) isn’t really a stretch. They’re also known to burrow.

    As much as this story gives me the willies, I can’t help but wonder how this report will affect the way we teach insect natural history. We’ve come full circle now on the earwig story: old wive’s tale to refuted story to the upending of dogma. I remember showing joke images of bloody earwigs emerging from people’s heads to my students in ENT 502. Looks like I was unintentially accurate. It’ll be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

    The original article is password protected; try the news summary at ScienceDirect.

    An earwig in quiet repose, readies for flight. Off to find an ear in which to rear your scion? Sean McCann captured this great image.

    Now do you still beleive they can’t get in your ears????

  7. That post on the insect museum blog was an April Fool’s joke. Earwigs are harmless ans do not get in people’s ears.

  8. Pingback: » How to Get Rid of Spiders in the Home Naturally

  9. I will be back to read your other posts

  10. earwig infested

    pardon me, they do nest inside, they nested in my darn computer- hundreds of them- i am ready to sell the house- and its only two yrs old!!!! and very very clean, not damp in any way- and i keep finding more baby ones even after i rid the puter of the nest…

  11. Ok….never really has an issue with earwigs except they’re gross and sometimes seen indoors. Last night my boyfriend wakes up yelping something just bit me. I think it’s his imagination but lone and behold…earwigs…everywhere! Little ones, medium sized and some larger ones. I tried to see exactly where they seemed to be coming from but it was allover. I should mention our bedroom is in the finished basement and it’s been extrememly hot and humid where we live this time of year. Never in my life have I seen anything like this. I’m going to move all furniture and hose vacuum and spray the living heck out of the entire basement with soapy water and this seems to be a less harmful way to kill them but just as effective. I hate bugs with a passion and needless to say, I came up stairs at 2am and told my 12 year old son to scoot over for the night! They were on my bed covers, the floor, under the bed, under the TV entertainment center, under my boom-box you get the picture. If anyone has anyother ideas for killing bugs without expensive chemical sprays, please let me know. I’ve seen spiders and silver fish too. I was once bitten by a brown recluse and have no desire to go thru that route again. Thanks!

  12. I have been researching natural remedies for getting rid of earwigs. I did see one suggestion from an exterminator of 30 years. He said, roll up a couple of dampened newspaper pages (to make a tube). Place the newspaper tube where earwigs are prominent (seems to usually be in the bathroom). The bugs will crawl into the moist tube (they love moisture) and die. Not really sure if its the ink or the story on page two that kills ‘em.

  13. me and my wife have been running into earwigs mainly in our living room, at night the little pests are always on time, making themselves known. I notice that when it rains they are more common, and figured that they wanted shelter, Having a infant in the house i have become very paranoid knowing that the earwigs are just crawling around. I am gonna try the newspaper idea and will let all you know if it works’

  14. HELP! I hate earwigs. they are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo creepy. i might just go nuts when i buy bug spray. i buy way to much spray and i am really going to soak my house with spray. those little nut head will think the water is good. But it is poisonous! MWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  15. If I see one more erawig I’m gonna move. I have this problem too but it has started only this summer. I sleep in the basement and I noticed having earwigs every single day especially in the bathroom and kitchen but lately I’ve noticed some in the bedroom too. I hate them and fear them because of all the cases about them getting into your ear. And now I fear them even more since last night when I got bitten by one in my own bed. I was awokenby something crawling on my back. In 2 seconds I felt a sting that made me jump. I turned on the light and I kept loooking under the cover to see what was that. I thought it was a spider but then I saw an earwig crawling back from the side of the bed and going straight to my pillow. This is no joke. I dont’t even wanna think about the idea of having a nest in the basement. I will do everything to get rid of them. And i do believe they crawl into your ear…so be aware.

  16. earwigs are harmful to humans,,they dont just bite they gouge

  17. Last year, for the first time in the 10 years I’ve lived in this house, we had a really bad infestation of earwigs. I would kill at least 12-16 a night in our bedroom before going to sleep, and a few would wake us up. Our daughter was 3 at the time and I was very very pregnant with our son. I researched and found that it was probably due to our very wet summer the year before. Apparantly the earwigs like soft damp grass to lay their eggs in. Anyhow, I had hoped they would dissappear this year considering we have been in an awful draught (south texas). No such luck. Some nights they are just a few and some nights, like last night, they are coming from everywhere.

    I do live in the country and our house isn’t exactly airtight as we are in the process of remodeling.
    Never seen any baby earwigs though.

    Soapy water in a spray bottle kills them, and I’ve gone crazy with duct tape taping every opening I can find. But I really would love to stop them coming in at all. My son is 9 months old now and I’m worried they will pinch him or he may even try to eat one (blech!!)

  18. draught should have been drought…lol whoops

  19. I am compleatly sick of earwigs coming out at night when i try to enjoy the cool outdoors on my porch I have used powders, and some sprays that dont work. Ontario has banned the use of persisides and i am becoming very distressed. I dont want to attract them with damp newspaper, i want to eliminate all of them around my porch. any suggestions?

  20. I am so very thankful to Our Awesome Lord God! Tonight, I felt compelled to do something that I never do and I lifted up my bed pillow before going to sleep…..under the pillow was an earwig (yuck!!), but I prayed over the bed, my husband and I, in Jesus’ Mighty Name!!! and my dear husband said it was the devil having nothing else better to do than to make us think about this getting into our ears, so we rejoiced, laughed, and are happily going back to bed! Thanks so much for your site! If we see any others in the future, we will get the soapy water in the spray bottle out! By the way, we live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building…??? Again, Thank You Lord Sir!!!!

  21. Earwigs do go in ears, my daughter woke up at 5:00 am yesterday saying something was in her ear and I used a q-tip to see and there was totally an earwig in her ear!! So gross!!

  22. i have a massive earwig problem this year, i find them disgusting, and my life as really been affected by them. they wer getting in on my washing after i brought it in off the line. iv now stopped pegging my washing out but they are still getting in and are making themselves very comfy on my washing on the maiden or radiators. im at my wits end, the vegetable oil trap and newspaper trap has not worked, im very ready to move house!!!!

  23. I had had problems with ants in the kitchen at my house and had read about using chili powder as a barrier to stop them coming in.

    Now staying at my parents’ place and my old bedrrom is overrun with earwigs coming in near the window. Just sprinkled some cayenne pepper near the little gaps in the window (its all I could find in the kitchen) – went back 10 minutes later and there are now dead earwigs right next to the pepper!

    So chili powder (or even cayenne pepper) sprinkled around really does work! And pretty harmless to humans too!

  24. I love the dishwashing detergent in water. Just had the great earwig masacre. Squirt then 10 seconds later they are dead. Its so good.

  25. K don’t try the pebbles they like to hide in them we built pebble paths around our house and when I was out pulling weeds through the summer in my flower beds I looked down and the rocks where alive with them YUCK!! I don’t believe the soap and water really works I have tried it and even added loads of soap to try but when sprayed they look dead and after a while they are on the move again. I have tried bleach, even pure acid didn’t really work, I hate earwigs and they seem to love my bed cause they always are in it. I was laying in my bed earlier and had just grabbed my favorite pillow and laid my head down and the next thing I feel is one scurry up around my hair and into my ear and I caught it before it went right in but now it seems to be lost in my room and I am scared to go to sleep cause honestly I didn’t know that they bite and after reading that I am even more afraid of them.

  26. We have A HUGE Earwig problem at the moment but our experience seems to contadict everything in the above article. We have Earwigs nesting and laying eggs just about everywhere, they are in every room of the house and we have not had rain for a very long time and live in drought with water restrictions.

  27. Earwigs do go inside your ears– not an old wives tale. I had an infestation outside last spring and summer due to a lot of moisture– and they came inside to my greenhouse which is also part of my house. I found them in my bedroom and ultimately had one crawl in my ear. Nothing is worse. I was able to get it out by doing a few gymnastic/crouching tiger moves- really there was NO way it wasn’t going to get out. I’ve since learned that if you can’t get them out to put oil in your ear and that kills it. I also confess to stalking them at night when they are out– and killing quantities by hand. sick, really sick behavior. I’m now hoping to prevent it from ever happening again.

  28. Ok so its -4 celsius here where I live and I am finding them in my house. Only in my basement. How do I get rid of them if they come from the outside to the inside but dont nest inside my house? How can they possibly be alive outside and be coming inside and not nesting. This really creeps me out. I have a 4 month old son. I have to get this problem fixed!

  29. The only way I have eliminated these horrible insects is by hiring a pest control company to come in and drench all the woodwork, under the sinks, the bathrooms, the walls of the basement,soak the house foundation both at the ground and under the edge of the bottom shingles and 9 feet out into the yard. We have no plants or scrubs around the foundation of the house, just dirt. The pest control company says they have no idea why they come into the house or why we have them in the yard because it is so barren around the house. The day I see one in the house, my war against them begins. The pest control company sprays once a year (costs me $90. and is so worth it), usually first of July and it keeps my house earwig free for 9 months, by then winter is on its way and there is relief.

  30. i woz asleep in bed and sumthin bit my bum i woz half asleep wen i woke up properly there woz five big lumps on my bum ana dirty earwig there,i must av rolled on it, i ad scars 4 months dirrty orrible creatures

  31. Dear Friends, Happy April Fool’s Day!!

    One day a Jewish Mother and her 8-year-old daughter were walking along the beach, just at the water’s edge. Suddenly, a GIGANTIC wave flashed up on the beach, sweeping the little girl out to sea.
    “Oh, God,” lamented the mother, turning her face toward heaven and shaking her fist. “This was my ONLY baby. I can’t have more children. She is the love and joy of my life. I have cherished every day that she’s been with me. Give her back to me, and I’ll go to the synagogue every day for the rest of my life!!!”
    Suddenly, another GIGANTIC wave flashed up and deposited the girl back on the sand.
    The mother looked up to heaven and said, “She had on a HAT!!!”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  32. To naturally get rid of earwigs outside the tuna can filled with corn oil works great. If you fill the can half full with water, and put a layer of oil on top, then the little buggers will still drown, but you don’t need to use as much oil. Put it out at night, under a light. Just be sure to get to the can in the morning before your cat or dog finds it. There is nothing worse then finding remnants of earwigs after your dog has licked you. We have found if there is another food source in the area that you left the cans out, (dog food, whether in a bowl or in a bag) they will not be as interested in the oil. I have caught hundreds and hundreds of earwigs this way. We have a serious moisture problem in an old mobile home. They can severly damage plants,(corn, apricots) so the dishsoap in a bottle is a good option for the garden. For ants, we use cinnamon sprinkled where they are comming out of the ground, as well as making a boarder with it to keep them out of our sun porch.

  33. I’m wondering what the proceedure is for the soap spray for the garden. I do have earwigs and my garden has been eaten up by something that I can never find. My guess now is the earwigs. Do I spary the plants? If so, do I wash off the spray? Or do I spray the soil around the plants? Or what??