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How to Get Rid of Earwigs in My Flower Baskets

Updated April 17, 2017

One of the last things you want to see when you look at your flower pot is an earwig poking out. Earwigs, also called pincher bugs, often make their way into vegetation such as flowers to seek shelter, but rarely cause harm to the plant. However, for the flower aficionado's safety -- the earwigs can use their pincers to cause harm to you if provoked -- it's typically essential to remove the bugs from their flower habitat. Getting rid of them is often easy with the help from a few products.

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  1. Place sticky traps on the soil throughout the flower pot. Cut the traps to fit if your pot is too small to hold them in their full sizes. The adhesive on the traps will capture the sticky bugs as they attempt to walk across. Throw the traps in the trash when they are full, and replace the trap in the pots. Continue to replace them until there are no more earwigs left to collect.

  2. Fill a low-sided container, such as a tuna or cat food can, with 1/4 inch of vegetable or fish oil. Place a drop of bacon grease inside the oil and then stick the can in the flower pot. The oil will attract the earwigs and cause them to jump inside the containers, where they will drown. Skim the dead bugs out of the oil and leave the trap in place until collection of the earwigs ceases.

  3. Cut two or three 6-inch pieces of garden hose and place them on the soil in the flower pot. The earwigs will likely crawl inside the hose seeking shelter. Remove the hose pieces and shake them out to get rid of the bugs. Replace the hose pieces until you no longer find the bugs inside.

  4. Vacuum the earwigs out of the flower pots. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum or shop vac to remove the earwigs from the soil on the flower pot -- using the vacuum on the flowers and leaves may cause damage to the plant. Although this method is effective in eliminating the bugs that currently reside on the plant, it provides no preventive for them. Therefore, consider using one of the traps in addition to the vacuum.

  5. Treat the flower with an insecticide. Insecticidal products that are typically effective contain the ingredients permethrin, carbaryl or cyfluthrin. Most are simply sprayed directly on the plant; however, you should read your particular product's label for best results.

  6. Tip

    Place the traps directly next to or below the flower pot if they are too big to fit inside. The earwigs will likely still fall victim to the devices, even if they aren't directly in the pot.


    Wear a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and eye shield when applying insecticide to the plants.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sticky trap
  • Low-sided container
  • Vegetable or fish oil
  • Bacon grease
  • Garden hose
  • Vacuum
  • Insecticide

About the Author

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