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What Do Earwigs Hate? Keeping Your House & Yard Earwig Free

An earwig sitting in the fork of a small branch.

If you are plagued by earwigs, keeping your home free of them can seem like a full-time job, especially during the warm weather months when earwigs are out in full force.

When they show up inside your home, you know for sure that there are plenty more outside looking for ways to get in.

What do earwigs hate? Earwigs will naturally be repelled from environments in which their ideal conditions are not met as they hate not having sufficient hiding places, such as deep mulch; abundant food sources, like insects and organic matter; and protected nesting locations.

Discovering what earwigs hate helps you to know what to do to keep these nuisance insects from putting down their roots.

While prevention is always the best approach, sometimes earwigs get to be a real nuisance, despite your best efforts.

If this is the case, don’t lose hope.

Just head over to our complete guide on getting rid of earwigs, choose a natural solution or insecticide option, and soon your earwig battle will be a distant memory.

Earwigs Hate a Well-Kept Yard

Earwigs mate in autumn and, as winter sets in, head deep into the ground to hibernate.

In early to midspring, they come out of hibernation, and female earwigs look for a place to nest.

Popular nesting places are under rocks or wet, decomposing leaves that are left over from last fall. Earwigs also love to nest and live in wet mulch.

A female earwig lays anywhere between 20 – 80 eggs that will hatch in about seven days.

With hundreds of newly born earwig nymphs couple with damp conditions from winter melting and spring showers, the perfect outdoor environment is created for earwigs to grow and thrive.

For a list of which fast-acting, effective pesticides we recommend for earwigs, read this.

Earwigs will look for not only places to live in your yard but also for food sources. Omnivores by nature, earwigs eat other insects, larvae, and plants.

(We have a complete list of what earwigs eat here.)

By eliminating the outdoor conditions that earwigs love, you’ll turn your yard into one that they hate.

Keep these anti-earwig tips in mind while landscaping and maintaining your yard in the spring and summer months.

  • Mow lawn and remove weeds regularly.
  • Rake dead leaves, grass, and other wet, organic materials from the lawn.
  • Get rid of wood and brush piles.
  • Cover compost bins and move them away from the house.
  • Avoid mulching around the foundation of your home; use gravel or stones instead.
  • Fix or replace leaking hoses or dripping hose bibs.
  • Clean gutters regularly.
  • Repair cracks in the foundation and around doors and windows, and repair weatherstripping.
  • Spray garden and plants with environmentally friendly insecticides.
  • Spray a pet- and plant-friendly pesticide around the outdoor perimeter of the house.
  • Encourage birds, which are natural earwig predators, by setting up bird feeders in your yard.
  • Keep garbage cans and recycling bins dry, covered, or stored away.
  • Use a motion sensor or dim/yellow light in yard lighting.
  • Clean grills regularly, and move them inside garage or shed when not in use.

The reason for taking care to keep your outside environment well manicured and neat is if you do have earwigs, the goal is to not only keep them outside but as far away from your home as possible.

What Attracts Them?

Earwigs seek out dark, moist places such as compost, wet mulch, and garden soil. Earwigs love gardens because they feed on smaller insects found there.

Maggots, aphids, beetles, and mites are some of their favorite foods. When the insect population declines, they eat dead leaves, plants, and other decomposing materials in the garden.

The rub is that once the insects and decomposing garden supply runs low, earwigs will munch on seedlings and healthy plants, flowers, and leaves.

Earwigs can do a lot of damage if running wild in the garden.

The more yard waste available to them, the more earwigs will be attracted to your yard.

The presence of dead leaves, brush piles, rotting wood, straw, and tall weeds will attract earwigs like a magnet.

By eliminating the things that attract earwigs, you can make a huge dent in the number of them invading your yard and garden.

This is important because if you eliminate the attraction sources outside, you greatly reduce the odds and numbers of them getting inside your home.

Earwigs Hate a Clean Home

A clean home is the way to take away the favorable conditions earwigs love. Keep these tips in mind to earwig-proof the inside of your home.

  • Throw away overripe fruits and spoiled vegetables.
  • Empty and disinfect garbage cans routinely.
  • Wipe counters frequently with a disinfectant.
  • Sweep often, and mop up food spills from floors.
  • Store food such as pasta, grains, and flour in airtight containers.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the basement.
  • Keep damp laundry out of the hamper.
  • Vacuum frequently.

If earwigs have already become a problem indoors, be sure to check out our simple solutions for eliminating them.

What Attracts Them?

If there are a lot of earwigs crawling around your patio, deck, or in the vegetation near your home’s foundation, it is highly likely that they will come inside eventually. 

Will they bite or hurt you in any way? We answer that here.

Once inside, they love to hide in basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens. 

Basements/Crawl Spaces

Earwigs love basements and crawl spaces because they provide the dark, cool, damp environment they need.

There are plenty of things stored in these areas that earwigs love such as old dusty books, piles of clothing, and paperwork stored in open cardboard boxes.


Earwigs love bathrooms because they are attracted to water. They can be found in sinks, showers, toilets, and floor drains.

Sometimes, earwigs even hide in the pages of magazines and puzzle books kept in the bathroom, and inside toilet paper rolls!


Because they are scavengers, they are always looking for food, so the kitchen is an obvious place for them to hide. 

Earwigs will crawl inside cupboards, cabinets, drawers, and pantries looking for crumbs and other accessible foods.

Smells of oil and grease attract earwigs, so the stove is very appealing to them. Crumbs left in the toaster provide an earwig feast.

If you stack dirty dishes in the sink or leave food scraps in sink strainers, watch out for earwigs. 

The kitchen is a big draw because it’s a place to find both food and water.

Pesticides and Traps

It’s not recommended to use commercial pesticides inside your home unless absolutely necessary, so DIY pesticides provide a more attractive alternative. 

DIY pesticide ingredients typically call for ingredients you already have in your home and are a handy, inexpensive solution for killing earwigs.

They generally contain equal parts of dish soap, rubbing alcohol, or vinegar and water.

You can spray them directly on the critters when you spot them or apply them around your home’s foundation and other areas that you see them frequently.

A highly effective DIY pesticide that works well in gardens is diatomaceous earth.

Sprinkling it in the garden not only kills earwigs, but also other plant-harming insects.

As for traps, DIY earwig traps are popular because they are effective, are easy to set up and use, and take advantage of items you probably already have in your home.

For example, earwigs love to hide inside cardboard tubes like toilet paper or paper towel rolls.

By leaving these simple traps in the bathroom, kitchen, basement or outside overnight, you should be able to trap several of the nocturnal earwigs by morning. 

Tube Traps

Wet a cardboard tube (toilet paper or paper towel roll) or a rolled-up newspaper, and place in a dark area near baseboards or in basements and crawl spaces to trap earwigs. 

To dispose of the traps, seal in a plastic bag and throw in the garbage.

You can also shake the trapped earwigs in a mixture of water and dish soap to drown them, or shake them out over the toilet to flush away.

When discarding the trap, keep in mind that these creatures move fast, so be prepared as you shake them out or put them inside a bag to discard.

Oil Traps

By using a simple tuna fish can, you can safely and effectively trap earwigs.

They love the smell of oil so leave a small amount of oil in the can. Add honey or soy sauce, two other earwig favorites, to the oil.

Place and leave the trap overnight in any area you’ve noticed earwigs. Dispose of them in the morning. 

As a tuna can alternative, you can also use a plastic storage container with small holes cut in the lid. 


By knowing the conditions that earwigs hate and following the landscaping tips provided, you can actively work toward effectively eliminating them.

Keeping your yard and home clean will provide an unfavorable environment and encourage these pests to go elsewhere.

If they do come inside, diligently keep things clean, use appropriate indoor pesticides, and set traps to catch and kill them.

Dealing with earwigs may not be pleasant, but it is a battle you can win as long as you know what to do.

Be sure to check out all of our prevention tips and earwig elimination strategies. You can find them all on our earwig page.