There is an old wive’s tale that states that an earwig will crawl inside your ear and suck your brains out, and although that is not true, earwigs are still annoying little creatures that you don’t want to have around. Earwigs love darkness and dampness, and if they can’t find what they are looking for outside your home, they will crawl right in. Read on to learn more about these pests and find out the best ways to deal with them.
How can I identify them?
The earwig is not a pretty creature. With a long, narrow, and flattened body that measures from ¼-1 inch long, earwigs have six legs and a long wispy antenna that is about half of their body length. They also have pincers that stick out from the back of their abdomen. Additionally, they have two pairs of wings in which their hind wings are tucked up under their front wings. Even though they have wings, they only fly in short bursts. The bugs themselves have a leathery appearance. When you see them, they will likely be scurrying to find a new place to hide.
What is their growth and development like?
The growth and development of an earwig shows more human-like characteristics than the average bug. Earwigs spend their winters in burrows outdoors in the ground, and when spring arrives the females lay their eggs in the burrows. Female earwigs exhibit maternal tendencies, caring for the eggs and the young nymphs until they can find food independently. Earwigs will molt up to five times on their way to adulthood, and their life expectancy is one year.
What do they want?
Earwigs want to congregate together in a dark, damp environment and eat organic material that they find there. If they are startled by light or need to search for more food or a better weather environment, they will scurry to a new dark place. They often find their way into your home through small cracks or openings. They will move towards a water source in your home, such as those found in bathrooms or kitchens. Earwigs are motivated by the safety of their group of other earwigs, the darkness of a good place to live, and a nearby food source.
Where do they live?
Earwigs live in places where they have easy access to food. During the night, they are nocturnal creatures that will feast on flowers, mold, fruit, leaves and insects. They will find these delicacies underneath piles of wet leaves or mulch. During the day, earwigs want to rest in cold, damp areas, like tiny moist crevices.
If they cannot find these outside they will seek shelter in your home. Earwigs like to live in large groups, and in places like under piles of mulch or lawn debris or in tree holes. If they are ousted by outside sources, they may end up in your home searching for food and water.
How can I prevent earwigs?
Like most other bugs, earwigs enter your home through tiny cracks and crevices that appear in or around your foundation. Making sure windows, doors, and vents are fully caulked and sealed is another way to prevent them. Earwigs appreciate the high condensation level and dirt or debris found in unfinished basements. If you don’t want earwigs to make themselves at home in your home, then run a dehumidifier and keep your basement floor clean. Finally, fix any leaks immediately so you don’t attract them with a thirst-quenching water source.
How problematic are these pests?
The good news about earwigs is that they cannot really do much harm to humans. Contrary to popular belief, they do not come into people’s homes at night and crawl into their ears to suck out their brains. And even though they have wicked looking pincers and appear threatening, they will not break the skin or transfer venom or diseases to people.
What they can do, however, is cause harm to plants in your garden if they start eating through them. Additionally, similar to stink bugs, they secrete a foul-smelling liquid that they use as a self-defense mechanism, and that can infiltrate your home if they get alarmed.
How can I treat an earwig infestation?
Because earwigs love to feast on dead organic matter in and around homes, it will be hard to get rid of them once they arrive. Make sure that your gutters are clean, because they can use this as an impetus to enter your home. Also, pick up any fallen leaves or branches in your yard and especially around your patio and house. Use caulk to fix any cracks or crevices so the bugs will not continue to get in. Finally, fix any leaky faucets immediately so there will not be a constant water source for the earwigs to enjoy.
Once you have taken care of your home itself and the surrounding area, it is time to get rid of the bugs. Several popular ways to get rid of earwigs are to use boric acid, sprinkling it around possible openings in your house. Creating a soap and water spray is another way to eradicate the earwigs. A mixture of alcohol and water will accomplish the same as the soap and water spray. Spray these near where you have seen the earwigs congregate.
Earwigs are extremely annoying bugs and look grotesque as they skitter across your floor. If you are not in the mood to go through all the steps needed to eradicate them from your home, it is time to call in the professionals.
Contact General Pest Control to eliminate these ugly little bugs. By requesting a free estimate today, you can get rid of these earwigs and sleep more peacefully tonight.