Let’s begin with what immediately springs to mind: Contrary to popular belief, earwigs do not burrow into your ears during the night to lay their eggs. They make no special effort to locate human ears.
The folklore around earwigs probably stems from the fear they cause: Unfortunately for them, earwigs have the appearance of dangerous bugs. Their distinctive pincers appear to be capable of causing a painful pinch.
However, when it comes to earwigs, appearances can be deceiving. The pincers of earwigs are not strong enough to harm humans and they are not known disease vectors.
Earwigs are also beneficial in the garden because they scavenge decaying organic matter and prey on insect larvae, snails, aphids, and other slow-moving bugs.
Aside from their intimidating appearance and the general unpleasantness of having bugs in your home, earwigs are mostly harmless. However, that does not mean that discovering an earwig in your home is a good thing and when this is the case many homeowners don’t hesitate to call an earwigs control professional.
Earwigs are insects that belong to the Order Dermaptera and are distinguished by their slender bodies and rarely used wings.
Their name is derived from an old European legend in which they crawl into people’s ears at night and tunnel into their brains while they sleep. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this myth, many people find the earwig’s pincers to be quite frightening.
They are small, reddish-brown, elongated bugs with pincer-like appendages on the end of their bodies. They have two sets of wings, one short and leathery in texture and the other fan-shaped and membranous.
There are over twenty species of earwigs in the United States, and their size varies depending on species and age. Adults typically measure 5 to 25 mm in length. For defense, some earwig species produce and release a foul-smelling liquid.
If handled directly, earwigs may give a slight pinch but are otherwise harmless. They are a nuisance pest, which means they do not pose a threat to humans or pets and do not cause structural damage.
Earwigs prefer to live in the same type of environment that centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs do: They can be found outside in gardens, debris piles, mulch, logs, and around foundations; and inside in basements, bathrooms, closets, and laundry rooms.
They prefer to hide in moist, undisturbed areas, such as cracks and crevices near moisture, under wet carpets and rugs, in cabinets under sinks, and behind or around kitchen and bathroom baseboards.
Certain earwig species can become a nuisance on porches and patios during the summer evenings because they are drawn to lights at night. They will then hide under cushions, flowerpots, and other items left outside in the morning.
In the fall, earwigs mate and build their winter nests. Female earwigs do not lay eggs until early spring, and the eggs hatch quickly. In late May and early June, the new generation will become adults.
They start the cycle anew in the fall after they have finished their activity during the summer. Additionally, they are most active at night.
While earwigs appear to be dangerous, they are not dangerous to humans. Earwigs do not spread diseases and do not crawl into people’s ears at night.
Certain species, however, produce a foul-smelling liquid as a self-defense mechanism. Many homeowners are concerned because of this, as well as their intimidating appearance.
In any case, earwigs pose a greater threat to garden plants than to humans. They are a type of garden pest that are active from late June to October and feed on a variety of flowers and vegetables.
By chewing irregular holes in the leaves and flower blossoms of these plants, they may cause damage to corn silk and seedlings, as well as marigolds, dahlias, butterfly bushes, and hostas. Bigger plants can tolerate this feeding, but many earwigs can harm or even kill certain plants, especially flowering plants, and seedlings.
Cleaning up harborage points such as piles of leaf litter, dying plant materials, mulch, and vegetation should help keep earwigs away from your home. You can also check that the gutters and downspouts are clear and properly draining away from the house to avoid moisture buildup, which may attract earwigs.
Additionally, exclusion techniques like gap sealing will aid in avoiding any earwig issues. Check for leaks, gaps, or tears in screens in doors and windows, as well as attic and foundation vents.
For the basement, you can use a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture and repair any leaky faucets both inside and out.
Earwigs typically feed on decomposing plants or wet leaves, so clean up any decaying plant matter around the house, including flower beds, indoor household plants, and so on.
Additionally, you can grow pest-repelling herbs like tansy, dill, fennel, cosmos, anise, and buckwheat throughout your home. Note that some herbs, like mint, actually draw them in.
If you have small reptiles (lizards), birds, spiders, toads, frogs, and other natural predators in your yard, they will assist in eliminating the earwig problem in and around your garage and garden. For this reason, should you come across these predators, you might want to “not” harm them.
The most common way for earwigs to enter your home is through an open door. Earwigs prefer to spend their time in places where they can easily hide. Decks and porches are ideal for them because they have plenty of cracks to hide in. So, those may be the first places to check if you are suspicious of an infestation.
If you do find an infestation, it will most likely be near a water source, such as a leaking pipe. Usually, removing the earwigs that are already in your home will solve the problem. Remember that, in essence, all you need to do is:
If you follow the steps above, you should not have an ongoing problem. However, when homeowners and business owners attempt to exterminate an earwig infestation on their own, the earwigs may return. Controlling earwigs can be difficult, and seeking professional assistance is not uncommon.
With the skills necessary to deal with insects and other creatures, Titan Pest Control is a full-service pest control and extermination business.
We investigate your pest or rodent problem, respond to your questions and concerns, fully explain our recommendation, and treat your property with care.
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If you have any questions or need help keeping your home pest-free, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.