Earwigs range in size from about ¼ of an inch to one inch in length. They are generally brown, black, and reddish-brown in color, have flat narrow bodies, and may or may not have wings. The earwig insect also has a pair of pincher-like appendages at the tip of the abdomen called cerci. These are used both for defense and catching prey.
Earwigs eat a number of things, including plant matter (especially the leaves of new shoots), flowers, grains, fungi, and other insects. In fact, as long as you don't have large numbers of earwigs, they can be beneficial in that they enjoy eating garden pests like aphids, mites, and scales. However, since earwigs produce and exude an aggregation pheromone, it's pretty common to get stuck dealing with a large earwig infestation. Luckily, earwigs in the house don't really do any damage. They're just freakin' nasty looking, which in and of itself is a pretty good reason for wanting to get rid of them. It's when they become a garden pest, especially in the spring when new growth is occurring, that earwig control becomes really important. Regardless of where your earwigs are, they're obviously not welcome. Have a look through this article and learn about getting rid of earwigs both from your home and garden.
Avoid providing earwigs with places to live and hide. Many people's yards end up as little safe havens for earwigs. Get rid of earwigs by removing things they like to live under such as stones and rocks (decorative and natural), logs, mulch, fallen trees, debris, brush piles, patio blocks, and stacks of firewood. Also, if you must use outdoor lights, switch to sodium lights or yellow bulbs. Most regular light bulbs attract all sorts of insects and since earwigs are predatory they will be far more likely to set up shop in and around areas where prey is abundant.
Moisture control is vital to earwig pest control. Start reducing moisture by cleaning and fixing up your gutters, downspouts, and storm drains. Next, look around for anything that may be collecting water such as bird baths, old tires, barrels, planters, etc., and get rid of them. From there, make sure water spigots are drip free and get your septic system checked out. Finally, if you are one to water your lawn or garden, be a little more careful about where you aim your sprinkler. Avoid letting it hit the house, garage, shed, deck, dog house, wood pile, compost pile, etc.
Perimeter treatment. Using substances like diatomaceous earth, boric acid, wood ash, sawdust, or crushed sea shells, create a two-inch wide barrier ring all the way around flower beds and gardens. Use the same substances to make a barrier that goes at least six inches out from the base of individual plants.
Earwig traps. A rolled-up newspaper placed outside makes a great earwig trap. In the evening, place several around your yard, under plants, and along your house. In the morning, put a few inches of water in a bucket, squirt a little soap in it, grab your newspaper traps, and shake the earwigs out of them and into the bucket. Another idea is to take an old tuna can, pie tin, or any other type of shallow dish with a slippery edge, set it into the dirt so it is flush with the ground's surface, and dump in a little fish oil. Earwigs go in and can't get out. There are commercial earwig traps (SpringStar Earwig Traps) that work on the same premise.
Insecticidal soap is a spray used on plants that works for killing earwigs by washing away their protective cuticle. Once the cuticle is gone, this earwig insecticide works its way in, breaks down cell walls, and kills the earwig. Most insecticidal soaps, while very effective, will not work residually and must be sprayed directly onto earwig garden pests to kill them.
Earwig insecticide sprays. There are a number of sprays on the market that work very well for killing earwigs. A few of the more popular brands are CY-Kick CS (active ingredient: cyfluthrin, a type of pyrethrin), Cynoff WP (active ingredient: cypermethrin), and Talstar P (active ingredient: bifenthrin).
Perimeter earwig insecticides. To keep earwigs out of places they don't belong and to kill earwigs that are already where they don't belong, secure the perimeter. There are plenty of different powders, granules, and sprays that work well for this. Many of them can also be spread across the whole lawn, which is a good thing for killing earwigs since the insecticides will have a better chance of working their way into the soil where the eggs are laid. Look for brands like Cyonara LP Granules (active ingredient: lambda-cyhalothrin), NiBan (active ingredient: boric acid), and Demand G Granules (active ingredient: lambda-cyhalothrin).
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural desiccant powder made from tiny fossilized diatoms. DE is sharp. When earwigs crawl over it, they get scratched up and dry out, or desiccate. DE can be used for filling cracks, crevices, and holes, or for creating borders around gardens, homes, and plants.
Boric acid is another natural desiccant. It's also a poison. Boric acid is derived from the mineral borate, available as a powder, and can also be used for filling cracks and crevices or for creating borders.
Pyrethrins, a derivative of the chrysanthemum flower, is a great natural earwig-control product. Pyrethrins are available as sprays, powders, dusts, and aerosols. They are great for killing earwigs on contact and have the added benefit of working residually.