Prepare and prevent the earwig this year

The best time to stop any infestation is before it starts and this is definitely true when it comes to earwigs. If you’ve dealt with earwigs year after year why not make this the time that you achieve better control and as a benefit I’ll show you how to do it with a minimum amount of chemical. Let’s look at a few simple steps we can take now that will pay dividends for the rest of the season.

Let’s get some stuff up off the ground

Earwigs bodies are flattened and they quite good at fitting in some very tight places. Being able to fit under a planter or door mat is very beneficial to the earwig because it provides protection from predators and a cool place to hide in the day. Getting these harborrages up off the ground will greatly reduce your earwig population. Try putting your planters or statues on wire type stands and get in the habit of hanging your mats on the back of a chair or something elevated. You can even buy decorative blocks at nurseries that are designed for this purpose. You won’t be able to get everything up but look around, especially near your front door and back doors. Anything you can do in this regard will help immensely.

Reduce the moisture

Earwigs won’t stay where it is to dry, in fact that is one major reason (besides food) that they move indoors. Don’t over water your potted plants or those in the flower beds that are right next to your home. Make sure gutters drain the rain water at least six feet away from your foundation and point all sprinklers away from the home and onto only the target plant or grass. If you put pet food and water outside make sure that it is brought in in the evening. Dripping faucets are a classic spot for earwigs and all kinds of bugs to conjugate so if you cannot get it fixed at least connect a hose and run it out to a plant away from the home. Reducing moisture will deter not only earwigs but many other pests as well.

Seal up your doors

There are probably hundreds of places around any home that will allow for pest entry but why not start with the obvious. Earwigs are scavengers and follow wherever the trail leads so to speak. If they come to the threshold of your front door and they can squeeze by, they will. Look also under the ledge of your threshold and make sure you don’t have any caulking that needs to be done. Seal up the door with weather stripping or a door sweep and you’ll cause the earwig to just keep moving on.

Treat the mulch

Mulch provides everything an earwig need to survive. plenty of hiding spots, moisture and even food. If you have mulch it is most practical to treat it with a granule insecticide and be done with it. Nothing lasts forever so you will need to do this several times during the warmer months. If possible rake back the mulch and evenly sprinkle granules on the soil. Put the mulch back in place and apply a topical layer which will give you a very effective treatment zone.
Earwigs for many people are nuisance while in some cases the population explodes and then it’s an all out chemical war. Start this year off right and take positive steps to keep your earwigs to a low roar and an isolated inside incident. You may not be able to stop them all but taking these suggestions will definitely mean for a marked improvement on the earwig front this year.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • As I was making lunch on a hot(96 degree) summer day in new england,  about a foot away from my kitchen window(with an air conditoner) I found a “Pincer” I panicked once I saw the pinchers being I have a two year old and could only imagine if it had nipped her what her reaction would have been. Anywho I sadly flushed it, carefully analyzing it as closely that I felt comfortable analyzing. I could never kill(squish) bugs,. gives me the creeps, so I investigated the bug and here I am well informed its bite is but a pinch and they seek moisture and food like many other bugs..eww..needless to say my lunch was postponed to a later time. I have an insect phobia and that one surely turned my stomach. I had never seen such a bug but the constant drippping of my air conditioner could draw in some “pincer’s” i suppose, being my kitchen is awfully clean, I refridgerate everything once I open it cookies, chips, fruit you name it because og my “bug phobia”. Thank you for info helped a bunch.-Mass_Mom

    For the record it was a female pincer, the claws were wide apart

  • Wow- you really did analyze it well since you knew how to tell it’s gender and all the other details. I applaud your gathering of info and then figuring out just how and why you had the earwig in the first place, not many com-mentors do that. Keep up the good work!

    PS. Love Mass. My son was a Bridgewater ‘Crazy Bear’ for a year– he decided to come back to Fla. after one of your famous winters… lol

  • Popshellzy

    Thanks I really appriciate all of the information.

  • You’re welcome & Thank YOU for reading my blog.

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  • AntiEarwigs

    I’m currently a tenant in the basement of someone’s home, and to say the least they’ve created a perfect safe haven for earwigs (dead leaves completely surrounding everything, doors/windows not sealed properly and plenty of moisture).

    I’m living here going on two months and I’ve killed hundreds and hundreds (no exaggeration) of earwigs now, everything from finding them in the fridge (don’t ask) to them crawling right up onto my face while I’m laying in bed. No, not worried about them crawling in my ear and eating my brains, but disgusting nonetheless.

    Spraying and traps is not the answer because the underlying problem is not being fixed. They’re just going to keep coming because the conditions are right. So, I’ve instead been researching ways to chemically repel earwigs, toxic or non-toxic is fine by me. Again, not a solution, just a deterrent, but if there’s something that I can spray around the perimeter of the door to keep the earwigs out while I live here it could be just enough to salvage my sanity.

    Prevention and traps are covered over and over all over the internet, but if you have to otherwise put up with earwigs because you have no control over the environment, what is THE very best chemical to repel them? Again, not attract and kill them, but repel them, like if they’re coming towards the bottom of the door to come on in and get a whiff of something that has them turning around and booking it.

    I’m trying a product that claims to do just that, Wondercide Wondefense – though it doesn’t appear to have any effect at all and seems like more of an herbs and magic potion type product.

    Any tactics for this unique situation?

  • AntiEarwigs

    Apologies if that was too much to read, just story sharing. My question is simply what’s the best chemical to repel earwigs? Thanks

  • You hit the nail on the head in your first two lines…The leaves and the moisture. There is no magic bullet chemical until the moisture and hiding places are removed. (bummer) Plus you’re kind of behind the 8 ball being in a basement… Earwigs burrow effectively and if they have moisture they’ll be happy in a subterranean world for quite sometime. Then they just find gaps or cracks into the foundation. I think your best chemical right now–is a rake.

  • AntiEarwigs

    Well, they’re only getting in, in one spot, the main door. If it was sealed it would be case closed. I keep my area clean. I’ve tried to get the landlord to clean up their yard and seal the door properly to no avail (and she definitely doesn’t want me changing anything or going anywhere near areas of the home that I’m not renting).

    This is otherwise a good living situation for me right now so I’m going to do the best I can to put up with the bugs and my landlord. What about Ortho Home Defense Max? Apparently not a trap or bug attractant as I’m seeing positive review after positive review that it keeps bugs out, and kills them only if they come in contact.

    Sounds like the kind of repellent I’m talking about? Is it all hype or would spraying this stuff around the perimeter of the door be a relatively good way to make this issue at least manageable in my limited situation?


  • I think it would be fine- plus I’d do more of a barrier just outside the door as well. Nothing in the liquid residual products acts immediately (except when you spray directly) in other words you need the bug sitting in or coming in contact with the dried residual long enough to absorb enough to die. So you may be putting it down quite a bit given your situation.. That said, I think it should be somewhat effective because you want the ‘repellant’ action just as much as you want the kill factor.

  • AntiEarwigs


  • Northern Illinois Pysco

    Alright, this is worth a shot – For years now we have battled these little boogers every spring/summer. Our entire neighborhood (fairly rural, 1 acre lots, good amount of trees) is INFESTED. Every year I do all of the preventative measures – cleaning up leaves, debris, etc. sealing hiding spots around the foundation, spraying pesticide over the foundation (by the gallon, to the point I have no grass along the blocks anymore), raised the AC unit, planter boxes, etc. Besides the typical leaves in the fall, around our house is bush, tree, plant, mulch free and sees ample sunshine to keep things dry. But, these little bastards are persistent & regardless of the exterior efforts every year, we continue to find them in the basement, shower, kitchen, bedrooms, curtains, etc. Over the years I have found that these guys are hiding up inside of my siding (new vinyl over cedar – which I thought cedar was a pest deterrent). It is to the point that you can hear them scratching around in there by the millions. You can walk along the house and tap on the siding and they are falling out by the 1000’s. So, not only do I spray the foundation, I also crawl along the house on my back, pull the siding away from the house a bit, & spray up inside of the siding as well. All to no avail, because they just keep coming…

    So, after years of this ongoing battle, I ask (without tearing off my siding, and sealing off all of the J-Channel along the bottom & reinstalling), having a rock garden for a yard instead of grass, what options do I have?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hi Pysco– I think Illinois must be earwig heaven..I get a lot of similar stories from up your way. Rather than answer you hear, I wrote an article (not posted yet–I get busy with my day job sometimes 🙂 But it’s next in line and it may help with your ‘siding’ treatment. Oh and the cedar wood– it is suppose to be an insect repellant wood, but I guess no one told your earwigs and all the bugs I find in cedar closets, chests and drawers on a weekly basis….not sure why that is… You’re doing all the right things…I’ll post a link when the article is up.

  • As promised here is (hopefully) some help with your situation.

    If somehow you could, take some pics and send them of the masses you see. I’d love to have some like that for upcoming articles. Just send em via my Ask The Bug Doctor feature.

    Thanks in advance

  • Northern Illinois Pysco

    Absolutely. I appreciate the response, and I got a chuckle about your cedar comment… I know its supposed to repel, but I have yet to see it – especially with boxalder (sp?) bugs.

    I will get some pictures. We are just now getting warm enough, and moist enough with the spring rains that it will be any day now these guys start showing their ugly faces.

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