Not only do earwigs look ferocious and creepy, but the name ‘earwig’ doesn’t do them any favors either. These creepy crawlers can sometimes find their way inside your home when the weather outside is either too hot, too cold, or too dry.
Inside the home, earwigs hide in dark, damp, humid areas around the house. Some of these places include beneath potted plants, near leaky pipes, beneath welcome mats, in the basement or garage, near doors and windows, and near drains.
It’s never fun to find six-legged pests inside your home. Read on to learn the 9 most common places where earwigs live in your house, and how you can prevent them from coming inside!
Earwigs Live Under Your Potted Plants
Indoor plants can easily turn a mundane room into something spectacular. Plants breathe color into the indoors and bring life to an otherwise inanimate living space.
Unfortunately, earwigs also love indoor plants.
Earwigs enjoy hiding beneath your potted plant where it is nice and damp from water drainage. Potted plants are an especially favorite hiding place for earwigs because it’s not only a comfortable place, but the plant provides a food source as well.
According to the University of Minnesota, earwigs feed on damaged and decaying plant matter as well as healthy plants. They’ll also eat soft fruits like strawberries, blackberries, apricots, and raspberries.
How To Prevent Earwigs On Your Potted Plants
Bring Your Plants Inside
Outside of your home, earwigs are often found in gardens, on soft fruit trees, and crawling over and under mulch. As you bring your plants inside, an earwig may have hitched a ride.
To avoid this, check your plants thoroughly before bringing them inside. Turn over leaves and take a close look at the soil to make sure no sneaky earwigs are coming inside with your plant.
Even if you grow something strictly indoors, earwigs can still make a home beneath the pot by entering your home through other means. It may be difficult, but try to keep the area beneath your potted plant dry.
Alternatively, you can water the plant more thoroughly but less frequently so that the area is dry more often than it is damp.
Here’s a list we developed on the most common plants that earwigs eat (and what to do specifically for each one!)
Set Or Use Earwig Traps
If you notice irregularly-shaped bites or holes in your plants and see an earwig or two lurking around, they may be hiding somewhere else during the day and feeding on your plant at night.
Earwigs are nocturnal. According to a study publish in the New Zealand Plant Protection Society, earwigs typically do not come out to feed until around 9:30 pm or later.
If this is the case, you may have to use other means to protect your plant such as setting out earwig traps to capture those menacing insects before they chow down on your house plants.
You can make a DIY earwig trap by using an empty tuna can or cat food can. Fill the bottom with vegetable oil or tuna oil. The earwigs will be attracted to the oil but will not be able to escape it. Empty the can in the morning and refill with oil until there are no more earwigs.
Another option is to place insect traps near your plant to try to catch the earwigs. Terro’s Spider & Insect Traps comes with 12 sticky traps that can either be laid flat or folded into a box shape.
Earwigs do not reproduce inside the home, so once you’ve caught them all, the problem should go away as long as you have found and sealed the original entry point where they are coming inside.
Earwigs Live Under Your Welcome Mat
Welcome mats are a nice way to, well, welcome your guests. They are typically placed directly outside your front door. While welcome mats aren’t technically ‘inside’ your house, they’re pretty darn close and can be an indirect source of indoor earwigs.
Because welcome mats are just outside your door, they are open to the elements. Even a mat beneath a porch roof can still get damp from hard rain. It’s rain that’s the main concern here.
When welcome mats get damp from the rain, they can retain the moisture depending on what kind of material they are made of. Even after the mat has dried, the space beneath the mat will still be damp for quite some time.
The dark, damp area beneath your welcome mat is the perfect living space for an earwig. And because of its proximity to the front door, earwigs can slip inside unnoticed when the door opens, especially at night when they’re on the move looking for food.
Ultimately, their size is one of the reasons why earwigs are so hard to get rid of inside. They’re quite small and hide in these areas where they really are tough to see.
How To Prevent Earwigs Beneath Your Welcome Mat
The easiest way to prevent earwigs from gathering beneath your welcome mat is to get rid of your welcome mat.
However, this isn’t always an option and many people like to have a mat for people to wipe their shoes before entering their home. Understandable! Instead of throwing out your welcome mat, try one of the following:
- Rubber welcome mat: Rubber welcome mats hold less water than cloth or rug material. They also tend to be heavier, making it more difficult for earwigs to crawl beneath them.
- Indoor mat: Instead of having a welcome mat outside of your door, consider using one just inside your front door. Your guests can still wipe their shoes, but the mat will not collect rainwater.
This option also means more work cleaning your entryway, but it may be worth it if it gets rid of your earwig problem!
- Shake your mat often: Earwigs do not like being disturbed and exposed to the light of day. Be sure to shake out your welcome mat every few days to scatter earwigs and whatever else is lurking underneath.
All in all, if you’re not too concerned with a little dirt, opt for a welcome sign instead of a mat!
Earwigs Live Beneath Garbage Cans
Earwigs may enjoy biting into plants and fruit, but they won’t hesitate to eat garbage, either. Food scraps, droplets from a pop can, and rotten veggies all sound quite appetizing to an earwig.
Depending on how you have your garbage can set up, earwigs may crawl beneath them and hang out, waiting for nighttime when they can crawl inside and have a meal.
Garbage cans that sit directly on the floor are more likely to harbor earwigs than those lifted off the ground. This is especially true if you have your garbage stored in a corner or against a wall. Earwigs can easily crawl beneath or behind the garbage can in these situations.
How To Prevent Earwigs Beneath Your Garbage Cans
There are a few steps you can take to make sure earwigs aren’t stowing away beneath your garbage cans.
- Remove garbage frequently: If you use your garbage for food items, be sure to change the bag out every day or every other day to prevent wet material inside the bag from attracting earwigs.
- Clean the garbage can: Clean the actual garbage can, especially if something spills on the outside of it. Spills on your garbage can will not only attract earwigs but also flies, ants, ladybugs, and other creepy crawlers.
- Keep can off the ground: If it’s possible, keep your garbage can lifted off the ground. Some kitchens have cabinet drawers that slide out for garbage cans. These are excellent for keeping a bug-free kitchen.
- Use a heavy lid: Giving earwigs access to your garbage is a sure way to keep them around. Use a garbage can that has a heavy lid such as a metal can instead of a plastic can.
Trash Mainstays Motion Sensor Can is a great choice for the kitchen as the lid closes automatically, meaning there’s no chance it can be accidentally left open for earwigs to crawl inside. It’s also a heavy-duty metal can instead of a plastic can, which can hold moisture.
Earwigs Live Near Your Doorways
When you find earwigs inside your home, the most likely reason is that it’s too hot, too cold, or too dry outside. They’re coming inside to cool off, warm up, or find a cool, damp area to live.
Doorways may be great at keeping out animals like raccoons and the neighborhood stray cats, but they’re not the best defense against a tiny earwig. Earwigs can fit into extremely small spaces, including the tiny opening beneath your door.
Even if it seems like your door is completely sealed, the smallest of holes can be big enough for an earwig. And if it’s not, they may wait against the framing until the door opens and sneak inside.
Any door that leads outside could potentially harbor earwigs. Doors that lead from the basement outside are more likely to have earwigs than your front door.
How To Prevent Earwigs Near Your Doors
Doors are a means of entry for many insect pests like flies, stinkbugs, ladybugs, and earwigs. Unfortunately, it’s usually the biggest opening in our home.
To prevent earwigs from entering your home through your doorway, you can use weather stripping to seal the bottom of your door.
Something like Holikme’s Door Draft Stopper can help ensure there is no open space at the bottom of your door. This attaches to the bottom of your door and reaches to the floor, helping prevent earwigs from squeezing inside.
This is also a good place to use some of the natural scents that earwigs hate to keep them away – it’ll keep your door smelling fresh too!
Earwigs Live Near Your Windows
Similar to how earwigs live near your doorways as they make their way in/out, earwigs will use windows to escape indoors or emerge outdoors when the weather is favorable.
Windows with broken screens or windows that remain open for long periods can attract earwigs. They have no problem scaling walls to get to a window and may nestle in the window frame.
Basement windows that are level with the ground will attract earwigs more than windows in your living room or kitchen. In general, earwigs will prefer basements to upper floors since basements tend to be dark and damp.
How To Prevent Earwigs In Your Windows
The main reason earwigs live near your windows is because they are escaping harsh weather outside or getting ready to migrate outdoors. They won’t necessarily stay long in this area, but it’s an earwig hotspot.
To keep earwigs away from your windows and out of your house, there are a few things you can do:
- Replace damaged window screens
- Keep basement windows closed
- Clean around windows often
- Earwigs eat dead bugs – be sure to vacuum any dead flies or other insects from your window sill often.
- Keep windows closed when it rains – the dampness will attract earwigs
Taking these few simple precautions will help keep earwigs away from your windows and make your home less attractive to these pinching insects.
Earwigs Live Near Drains
This one shouldn’t come as much surprise since earwigs love hanging out near wet, damp areas.
Drains like your shower drain, bathroom sink, kitchen sink, or any floor drain in your basement/garage are likely to attract earwigs.
While it’s clear that earwigs like hanging out in damp places, it’s not very clear why they love water so much.
According to the University of California, outdoor earwigs live in areas like beneath soil, inside damaged fruit, and beneath dead leaves. It could be that they are attracted to water in our homes because they live in such damp areas outdoors.
How To Prevent Earwigs Near Your Drains
It’s important to note that earwigs living indoors will not survive very long unless there is an adequate food source. If you’re finding earwigs near your drains, take into account how many you see.
If it’s just a single earwig, you may be able to get rid of the problem simply by disposing of that single earwig. However, if you’re seeing one or two every day near your drains, a more thorough approach will be necessary.
This is whenever implementing a trapping program is helpful. Remember the tuna cans with oil? Set these out near your drains to trap earwigs and dispose of them each morning.
To recap, use a tuna can or cat food can and fill it with about ½ inch of oil in the bottom. Earwigs will fall into the trap during the night, so be sure to empty and refill the trap the following day before night falls.
Earwigs Live Near Leaky Pipes
By now, you’re probably seeing a pattern. Earwigs love damp places! It’s true, and there’s nothing like a leaky pipe to attract a bunch of these pincher bugs.
Leaky pipes beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks offer earwigs a dark, damp place to hide during the day. Leaky plumbing in the laundry room and the basement is also likely to attract earwigs.
Because leaky pipes are often in enclosed areas, the humidity in the surrounding environment will spike, giving earwigs more reason to hang around.
How To Preven Earwigs Around Leaky Pipes
It can be a surprise to find the area beneath your sink is soaked with water. Leaky pipes can happen over time as pipes weaken or can be caused by a simple fitting coming loose.
To keep earwigs away from leaky pipes, the best solution is to fix the leaky pipe. If the leak is caused by physical damage to the pipe such as a small hole or cut, you can use something like J-B Weld WaterWeld Epoxy Putty to fix the leak.
Epoxy putty works on plumbing including fiberglass, PVC plastic, aluminum, brass, copper, and iron. Always follow the directions on the label to ensure proper setting and sealing.
If the leak is caused by a loose pipe or fitting, be sure to tighten the fitting to fix the leak. If the threads on the fitting continue to leak, consider using a fitting sealant tape to ensure a proper seal.
You can also use some of our recommended best earwigs sprays around the outside of your home near these pipes to aid as an additional repellent.
Earwigs Live In The Laundry Room
The laundry room offers earwigs two of their favorite things: water and humidity. Even though dryers pump their heat outdoors, some of it escapes indoors. Combined with the water from the washer, the room can get pretty humid.
Earwigs will live along the floor of laundry rooms, especially within cracks in stone if your laundry room is in the basement. They’ll also hide underneath the washer and dryer units and in the dark corners of the room.
If you have a utility tub in the laundry room, earwigs may hide inside the drains or near leaky pipes. The same can be said of a floor drain.
How To Prevent Earwigs In The Laundry Room
When you have earwigs in the laundry room, there’s no way to prevent earwigs except to implement a trapping program.
Remember, earwigs that are inside your home will not reproduce or have nests of thousands of individuals. Once you trap the earwigs that are inside, your problem will be solved as long as you seal the original point of entry.
Use the tuna can/cat can traps until you no longer have an earwig problem in your laundry room. You can also try using sticky traps to catch and dispose of earwigs.
Earwigs Live In Your Basement and Garage
It seems like everything creepy, crawly, and with too many legs is found in the basement, right? Earwigs are no different and prefer the cool, damp, dark environment of your basement and garage.
Earwigs are unlikely to be found in garages in the winter, but will be there during the summer when they are looking for a cool place to hide during the day.
Unfinished basements are more likely to harbor earwigs than finished basements since earwigs would prefer cool stone over warm hardwood or scratchy carpets. Earwigs will be attracted to basement bathrooms, laundry rooms, and floor drains.
How To Prevent Earwigs In The Basement And Garage
Similar to having earwigs in your laundry room, the only way to eliminate earwigs in the basement is to trap them and dispose of them.
You can try to seal any obvious openings that earwigs may be used to come inside, but these tiny bugs can fit through extremely small spaces. Eliminating every point of entry might be impossible.
Make sure your doorways and windows are sealed as tightly as possible and use weather stripping where needed. Set out glue traps near obvious areas like corners, near drains, or near any cracks in the foundation or brick.
The reason I say glue traps here is that we want to detect and confirm you have earwigs – but you can really use any earwig trap that’s well regarded.
That’s All For Now!
Earwigs can be a nuisance inside the home but tend to stick to dark, damp areas during the day when they hide. Earwigs are nocturnal and come out at night to find food and water.
Even though earwigs can be very beneficial to have around the garden, they don’t have any positive impact inside your home. The good news is, that they also do not have a negative impact. They do not nest or reproduce inside, but simply hide out until the weather improves.
To recap, here are the 9 most common places where earwigs live in your house:
- Under potted plants
- Under welcome mats
- Beneath garbage cans
- Near doors
- Near Windows
- Near drains
- Near leaky pipes
- Laundry room
If you find earwigs in your home, you can use traps to capture and dispose of them. You can continue trapping them until you no longer catch any earwigs, at which point your problem should be solved.
However, if you have a severe infestation, you can always contact a professional for help. Our nationwide pest control finder can get you in contact with a professional near you. A professional can help you identify entry points as well, which can be tricky to do on your own.
Now you have all the tools you need to get those earwigs out and keep them out! Have another pest problem? Jump on over to Pest Pointers for information on all your local pests and some pointers on how to control them!
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He, X. Z., Wang, Q., & Xu, J. (2008, August 01). European earwig as a potential biological control agent of apple leaf curling midge. New Zealand Plant Protection, 61, 343-349. https://nzpps.org/_journal/index.php/nzpp/article/view/6814
Orpet, R. J., Crowder, D. W., & Jones, V. P. (2019, June 25). Biology and Management of European Earwig in Orchards and Vineyards. Journal of Integrated Pest Management, 10(1). https://academic.oup.com/jipm/article/10/1/21/5514231?login=true
Romeu-Dalmau, C., Pinol, J., & Espadaler, X. (2012, November). Friend or foe? The role of earwigs in a Mediterranean organic citrus orchard. Biological Control, 63(2), 143-149. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1049964412001375