Earwigs In Your Apartment: What To Do?

Earwigs in the apartment are a real horror for many people. However, the animals do not cause panic. They are absolutely harmless to humans and rarely appear in masses. What remains, however, is the disgust factor. To get rid of earwigs, as they are also called, a few basic measures are quite sufficient. The aim is to drive them away, not to kill them.

Earwigs in the apartment
Earwigs, whose Latin name is Dermaptera, are a species of insect that first appeared in the Jurassic period 150 million years ago. They belong to the order of flying insects and consequently have wings, which, however, they use only very rarely or not at all. Some specimens are even completely unable to fly despite having wings. The species native to Central Europe usually reach a body length of ten to 20 millimeters. The most common is Forficula auricularia, the common earwig. The nocturnal animals love a rather damp and cool environment. Therefore, a house or an apartment is not one of their preferred places to stay. Normally, they are rarely found there. Since these animals lay relatively few eggs, an invasion or even a plague in indoor areas is very unlikely. This is all the more true because they do not necessarily find the food they prefer there – certain plant parts, for example, or other insects such as aphids.

Ohrenkneifer, Dermaptera

Note: Earwigs may not be hunted or killed outdoors, as they are under nature protection. The animals eat pests and are therefore explicitly considered valuable beneficial insects.

Earwigs enter the house rather accidentally in most cases. Who wants to prevent the visit of the animals, can protect themselves with a few small measures quite well. For example, small gaps and cracks, especially around windows, should be closed or sealed. Through these often only minimal openings the uninvited guests find an entrance. In addition, laundry that has been dried outdoors must be thoroughly shaken out before bringing it into the house. The earwigs hide in it every now and then and are then smuggled in unintentionally. It’s a similar story with plants that have been in the garden all summer. If you bring them back indoors in the fall, a close inspection of both the foliage and the planting soil is essential.

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As already mentioned, a real earwig invasion is extremely unlikely, because the living conditions for the animals inside are usually not suitable. So you will have to deal mainly with isolated specimens, which, moreover, do not pose any danger to humans and pets. Nevertheless, many feel these very archaic animals thus threat. In order to get rid of them, various measures are possible. The simplest and most brutal is certainly to kill them by beating them to death. Even though this is generally allowed indoors, it should not be done. It makes more sense to catch them with a glass and a piece of paper, so that they can be transported outside. However, it is relatively easy to persuade them to leave the apartment on their own. To do this, you simply worsen the living conditions for them even more. The following measures are recommended:

  • Increase heating temperature significantly
  • largely refrain from airing
  • move houseplants to another room
  • thoroughly clean the floor from dirt and possible plant remains
  • remove possible hiding places
  • switch on the light as soon as dusk falls.

All these measures make it difficult for the earwigs to stay in the rooms and usually cause them to leave within a few days.

Tip: Above all, the combination of a high room temperature and plenty of light drives the animals away relatively reliably.

Clay pot trap

Ohrenkneifer umsiedeln

However, the measures described above do not represent a one hundred percent success rate. If you want to be on the safe side, you should therefore work with traps in which the earwigs can be caught alive and then moved outdoors. The clay pot trap has proven to be very successful. This is how you build it:

  • Use a commercially available plant pot of any size made of clay.
  • Fill the pot with wood wool, straw, an old newspaper and some soil.
  • leave the drainage hole free
  • place it upside down on a base
  • place it in the room with earwigs for the night
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The conditions offered to the animals by the filled pot have a tremendous attracting effect on them. The next morning, carry the entire pot, including the base, outdoors and unload it there.

Fabric trap
Earwigs love moisture. That’s why even damp or wet pieces of fabric exert an immense attraction on them. Scraps of fabric that are simply made wet can therefore be used to build very effective traps. The animals are very likely to crawl into them at night and can then also be brought into the garden the other day. It is important that the fabric is crumpled and so the possibilities are given that the earwigs can crawl into it. It is also important to make sure that the rest of the room is dry and, if possible, well heated. The wet fabric then acts almost like a wet biotope for the earwigs.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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