There is a superstition that earwigs burrow into the ears of people while they sleep. There have never been any confirmed cases of this really happening. Earwigs frighten many people because of the pincers on the back of their abdomens. Earwigs use these pincers for defense and for catching prey.
There are more than twenty species of earwigs in the United States. Depending on the species, adults range in size from ¼” to 1”. They are slender insects with two pair of wings. Some species produce a foul smelling liquid that they use for defense. Earwigs also produce a pheromone (scent). Scientists believe that this pheromone is the reason that earwigs cluster together in large numbers. Immature earwigs (nymphs) resemble the adults except they do not have wings.
Earwigs are active at night. During the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch in flowerbeds. Earwigs eat plants and insects.
Outdoors, earwigs spend the winter in small burrows in the ground. In spring the female lays eggs in the burrow. She tends the eggs until they hatch. Then she cares for the nymphs until they can find their own food.
Earwigs are attracted to lights. They can become a nuisance on porches and patios on summer evenings. In the morning they will be gathered under things like cushions that were left outside overnight.
Earwigs move into homes to find food or because of a change in weather.
Homeowners often find them in areas where there is water – kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. Earwigs can also find their way into bedrooms and family rooms. They turn up in almost every part of the house.
The most important part of controlling earwigs is eliminating their hiding places. If the earwig harborages are not addressed, insecticide application will probably not control earwigs very well. There are a variety of things that can be done.
Move landscape timbers, logs, decorative stones, and firewood piles away from the foundation. Create a zone next to the foundation that is free of mulch, dead leaves, and other organic material. The “dry zone” should be 6” to 12” wide so that earwigs will avoid it. Trim trees and shrubs that cause damp, shady areas near the house.
Examine gutters and downspouts to make sure they drain away from the foundation. Set irrigation systems so that they water in the morning and allow the landscape to dry during the day.
Adjust outdoor lights to shine from the yard onto the house – insects will be attracted away from the house. If moving outside light fixtures is not practical, consider changing light bulbs to “bug light” bulbs. Repair screens on crawl space vents and make sure the vents are not blocked. A dehumidifier might help in a damp basement.
Earwigs can infest many different areas in a home. Because of that, it may be necessary to use several insecticide products to control them effectively. Assassin Exterminating & Pest Control has the knowledge and expertise to control earwigs effectively.
If you would like more information about Earwig Control or a specific insect or service, please click the link below and you will be taken to the Assassin Exterminating & Pest Control website or you can call us directly at (817) 727-8149