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How to get rid of earwigs

Information, facts and resources to help you deal with an infestation of earwigs and, if the worst happens, how to destroy the earwigs and prevent this household pests return.


What does an earwig look like?



Earwig Description

  • Earwigs are typically reddish brown to black in colour.

  • Earwigs are approxiamately 9 - 15 mm in length.

  • Earwigs have short wings which do not cover the body.

  • Earwigs have pincers at the rear of their bodies - they look dangerous but earwigs can do no harm to humans with these.

Where do earwigs live?

  • Earwigs are found in damp places, in lawns, in crevices and amongst litter. Earwigs are mosty found outside but occasionally inside. Earwigs are found in plants, trees and buildings. Earwigs hibernate under paper, cardboard, wooden boards, bark, and also stones outside.

What are the signs of an earwig infestation?

  • Earwigs are seen when moving items such as litter or damp clothes or damp cardboard that has been left undisturbed for a while.

What do earwigs eat?

  • Earwigs eat and thrive on organic matter. Earwigs eat lichens, pollen, flowers, vegetables, plant matter and fruit.
  • Earwigs also eat most household pantry items such as flour, biscuits, bread, and pastries.

Why must earwigs be controlled?

  • Earwigs are a significant pest to gardeners.
  • Earwigs (during an infestation) can be found in laundry, clothes, furniture, bread, the pantry or larder, and bedding. Earwigs are an unpleasant rather than dangerous household pest.

How can I get rid of earwigs?

  • Good hygiene and the clearance of litter, clippings, organic materials is essential for the extermination of these pests.

How can I prevent earwigs from returning?

  • Keep work areas in the kitchen and garden dry and free from litter to help control earwigs.
  • Remove decaying vegetable matter from garden areas and around the house.
  • Avoid leaving piles of piles of leaves or grass clippings lying around, or ANY pile of wet, damp organic matter which may encourage and feed earwigs.
  • Repair downpipes and gutters that may contribute to the damp environment that earwigs need to thrive.

Earwig Poisons and Earwig Pesticides

  • Proprietary earwig poisons and pesticides are vailable from hardware stores.
  • Chemicals for the effective control of earwigs include: deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin and tralomethrin.

The "Green Option" - Environmentally friendly control of Earwigs

  • Earwigs can be baited and sweet sticky substance will attract and hold them.
  • Earwigs can be controlled with grooved board traps which are set in places earwigs are known to frequent. The earwig traps are checked regularly and any caught earwigs are disposed of.
  • Place wet burlap bags or wet carpet, boards, newspapers or other cover material around the garden near the house. Collect the earwigs that congregate under the damp materials and dispose of the earwigs.
  • Try poisoned bran sweetened with molasses to control earwigs.

Earwigs : Household Pests

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