Earwigs provide benefits in a garden or lawn because the insects keep your garden in balance. When too many earwigs take over your garden space, then you must eradicate the pests. A large abundance of the bugs may cause the death of plants and vegetation. The high acidity of distilled white vinegar kills earwigs living in your garden, home or any other space.

Earwigs have a very specific look.

Benefits of Earwigs

A small number of earwigs in a garden provides benefits to the surrounding area. Earwigs feed on the carcasses of dead bugs and leaves and other organic matter. The bugs eat dead matter, such as leaves fallen from a tree or bush. Earwigs also eat other bugs, including slugs, spitbugs, aphids and snail eggs. The bugs remove dead waste and other matter that might otherwise attract harmful bugs and animals.

Using Vinegar

If you think your garden is overrun with earwigs, check the plants for any signs of earwig infestation or any signs of the bugs crawling along the leaves or base of the plants. Wrap pieces of soaker hose around each plant and let them sit overnight. The next morning, fill a large bowl with distilled white vinegar. Lift the hoses up and place one end at the top of the bowl. Shake the hose gently, pushing any bugs inside the hose into the vinegar. The vinegar drowns and kills the bugs. The bugs climb inside the soaker hose when trying to reach the plants and remain trapped there until you drown them. You can also use newspapers rolled into cylinders and arrange the newspapers around the base of the plants.

Other Methods

Mix 1 quart insecticide soap with 1 tbsp. isopropyl alcohol and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the leaves, soil and other areas of the infected plant. For another method of earwig removal, remove the top from a metal can and pour vegetable oil inside until the oil fills half of the can. The earwigs climb inside the can, but cannot escape. Empty the cans every morning and fill them with fresh oil.


Spraying chemicals and insecticides in your garden changes the balance of the area. While it might control the earwigs, it lets the bugs the earwigs eat come back and increase in population. Using vinegar or another natural method of earwig control does not interrupt the natural balance in the same way. Only use vinegar for a large population of earwigs or if the earwigs begin damaging vegetation in the garden.