Earwigs are insects that are commonly known among most. While many have had direct experience with these creatures, others have heard of them through superstitious tales.
The most common being that the insect invades the ears of unsuspecting humans while sleeping in order to burrow deep within the brain to lay their eggs.
This tale holds no truth, of course. While fairly common within the region, they make themselves known after periods of time when there has been wet weather. If you are plagued by earwigs, continue reading this comprehensive guide to learn more about them and how to get rid of them.
What is an Earwig?
An earwig is a unique type of insect that has six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. It has pincers on the end of the abdominal region and may measure up to 25 millimeters long. While considered to be a relatively harmless insect to humans, they may become a pest if they find their way into a home garden, a flower bed, or into the home.
Many have wings and others do not; however, if they do have wings, they are poor fliers. In the United States, there are at least 22 different species.
Worldwide, there are over 1,000 species. Earwigs commonly live in large groups. They are mostly nocturnal.
During the day, they will stay in areas that are cool, dark, and moist. They are most active at night. This is when they typically come out in order to feed.
Where Are Earwigs Commonly Found?
There are two main conditions that attract earwigs – moisture and high levels of humidity.
In the outdoor areas around your home, you will most commonly find these creatures underneath piles of leaves that are retaining moisture, in and around mulch, under porches and similar structures, and even throughout lawn clippings.
If they move into the home, they will gravitate towards areas that contain high levels of moisture – such as the kitchen and the bathroom.
In addition to these, earwigs may gravitate towards the basement of your home and even in the crawl spaces underneath the home.
The Diet of the Earwig
Earwigs are considered to be omnivores; that is, they are known to consume other types of insects, a variety of plants, and other types of vegetation.
Examples of items that may be included in the earwig diet on the outside of your home include leaves, flowers, and mold.
On the inside of the home, they will seek out mold, other types of insects, and even rotting wood that may be within the floor or the walls of your home.
Do Earwigs Pose a Threat to People?
Generally speaking, earwigs are not harmful to humans in that they do not bite; however, they have the capability of pinching. If this occurs, the after effect is usually not at all harmful.
They are not known to infect with bacteria or other type of disease. They are not venomous, either. The largest threat to humans is the effect that they have on vegetation.
If you are a gardener or grow special types of plants and you develop an earwig infestation, you are likely to see the results of the infestation during cultivation. For example, if you have a vegetable garden, the earwigs are likely to destroy it – especially if moving in large numbers. They are a threat to all types of plant life – from trees, to fruits, to leaves, to vegetables.
Like many other types of insects – such as lady beetles and crickets – the earwig is considered to be an “accidental invader” if it makes it way into a home. In other words, they latch on to something or end up in the home when they are in search of shelter. In most instances, prolonged damp weather can result in a home invasion.
In most instances, they are simply an annoyance because of the way that they look. If you disturb them, they have the capability of emitting a very foul odor; however, this odor is not considered to be harmful to humans.
If you have asthma or another type of respiratory condition, the odor could irritate the condition, but this is very rare.
Are Earwigs Beneficial?
If you find that you have an earwig infestation within your home, it could indicate that there is excess moisture, humidity, and possibly even wood damage. You may use these insects as a sign that there is an underlying issue occurring in your home. You should research thoroughly.
An infestation may help you get ahead of these types of problems before they develop into a more serious problem. In this way, they are very beneficial. Additionally, if your property is infested with troublesome pests – such as mites or even aphids – the earwigs will consume them, which is also quite beneficial.
Earwig Management Techniques
If you observe earwigs inside of your home, you may sweep them up and simply discard them. It is possible to use over-the-counter insecticides that are designed for the interior of the home and act as a residual.
These should be spayed within cracks, crevices, and other types of openings that may prove to be points of entry for the earwigs. Understand, though, these types of treatments will only provide a very limited amount of prevention. It is still possible for the insects to enter into the home.
For this reason, it is best to have a professional pest control technician to come out and do both an indoor and outdoor treatment.
Being that the outdoors acts as a point of origination for earwigs, there are many pest management techniques that may be implemented in order to prevent and/or treat infestations. The following lists some strategies that are considered to be highly effective:
- All shrubs, bushes, plants, and similar items should be trimmed on a regular basis. You should pay special attention to the bottoms of these plants. By trimming the foundational areas, you will reduce the places that the earwigs will be drawn to during the daylight hours.
- If you have any type of wood that is rotting anywhere on your property, you should eliminate it immediately. Earwigs will be attracted to the wood because of the amount of moisture that it contains and they may even use it as an area to take shelter. This includes logs, branches, and even old twigs.
- Natural debris is an attractant for earwigs. A prime example of natural debris includes leave piles and fallen twigs from the trees on your property. Not only does natural debris hold moisture, it is also a breeding ground for mold. Not only is mold an attractant for earwigs, it is also potentially dangerous to your health.
- Review the exterior walls of your home as well as your home’s foundation. If you see any type of cracks, holes, or any other type of small opening that may be used by insects to gain entry directly inside of your home, you should seal them immediately. In most instances, a liquid-based cement or a type of caulk may be used to seal these types of spaces.
- If you have lighting outdoor around your doors, windows, plants, fences, and other areas, you should make an effort to reduce it. Earwigs are attracted to light and will flock to it. If you have lighting near an entry point in your home, they may accidentally invade your home. If you have it near plants that you are cultivating, they may hide near the plants and start to consume them.
- Identify areas outside of your home that are dark and damp. Then, do your best to eliminate the moisture and increase the amount of natural sunlight that the area receives each day. Examples include near outdoor faucets, near air conditioning systems, outdoor ponds, sprinkler systems, pools, and birdbaths.
- You may elect to utilize a repellent for earwigs around your home. Examples include a mix of water and dish detergent as well as a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. You may also plant herbs around your home that are known to act as a repellant. Examples of these include – but are not at all limited to – dill, tansy, and buckwheat. Remember to do your research on this one so that you do not accidentally plant an herb that will attract earwigs.
We Can Help
If you are struggling with an earwig infestation, we here at All Pest have the skills, knowledge, tools, and resources to help eliminate the infestation quickly and inexpensively. We offer the most comprehensive pest control treatments in the area at the most competitive pricing. Why allow yourself to be burdened by such an invasive species?
While earwigs are not known to be dangerous to humans, they have the capability of being destructive to various forms of plant life.
If you would like to learn more about earwigs or have a desire to get rid of these insects in your home or on your property, we can help! Simply contact us today by calling the following number: 765-259-0043