While all pests have their unique set of problems, earwig infestations in large numbers can cause damage to your land and property.
In this blog, we will be looking at
- What are earwigs?
- Are earwigs dangerous?
- Do earwigs cause damage to your home?
- What attracts earwigs to your home?
- Where do earwigs like to live?
- 7 Tips for Preventing Earwigs
What are Earwigs?
Earwigs are small bugs ranging from ¼ to 1 inch long. They have pinchers, also known as forceps, protruding from their abdomen. They tend to be dark brown, black, or reddish brown in color. All earwigs have at least one pair of wings, but some can have up to 4 wings or two sets.
Earwigs make up the insect order Dermaptera. There are over 2,000 species in 12 families. While this sounds like a lot, earwigs are one of the smaller insect orders.
Are Pincher Bugs and Earwigs the Same?
Yes, pincher bugs and earwigs are one and the same. The term “pincher bug” is a synonym for an earwig. The pincher bug’s name comes from the large pinchers protruding from its abdomen.
Do Earwigs Crawl in Your Ears?
Despite their name, earwigs do not crawl into human ears, or any ears for that matter. The name comes from the Old English word “ear wicga,” which translates to “ear wriggler” or “ear creature.”
The origin name began with an old European myth about earwigs crawling into your ears and laying eggs while you sleep. So, to reiterate, you can rest assured that earwigs will not crawl into your ears while you sleep.
Are Earwigs Dangerous?
Despite earwigs being pests, they don’t pose a danger to humans or pets. It’s easy to assume otherwise because of their large pinchers, but this is a common misconception.
While, like any bug with pinchers or a mouth, earwigs can latch onto fingers if agitated, this isn’t something they’ll go out of their way to do. Likewise, earwigs don’t sting, nor are they poisonous or venomous. In fact, they’re even edible and safe to eat, not that you were planning on it.
Do Earwigs Cause Damage to Your Home?
While earwigs don’t cause direct harm to humans or pets, they can still be a nuisance to your property. Earwigs are garden pests; their diet consists of equal parts plants, decaying organic material, and small insects. They can damage vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants inside and outside the home.
If you suspect an earwig infestation in your home or yard, look for signs of their presence on your plants and vegetation. This includes ragged edges, holes in leaves and petals, and plants missing some or all of their leaves and stem.
What Attracts Earwigs to Your Home?
Changes in Weather and Climate
Earwigs prefer cool, damp places, and if the weather becomes too hot or dry, they may make their way into your home.
Existing Pests and Trash
Along with plants and vegetation, earwigs consume smaller insects and decaying matter. Either in your home can lure earwigs in, especially if they can’t find the food source outside.
Sometimes earwigs can end up in your home by accident. While bringing plants and vegetation indoors from outside, you may unknowingly bring earwigs in too. At the same time, earwigs might come inside to feast on your indoor plants.
Leaky Pipes or Drains
Earwigs enjoy dampness and cooler temperatures. The humidity can attract earwigs if your house’s interior has cracks or leaks in pipes and drains.
Earwigs love vegetation and decaying plant matter, so you can imagine how enticing dead plants are to them. Along with their diet, earwigs like to be covered and hidden away under damp surfaces. A messy yard provides plenty of hiding spots for them.
Where do Earwigs Like to Live?
As mentioned earlier, earwigs gravitate towards cool and wet climates. They like to stay hidden in dark and covered places. Because of this, earwigs like to reside in potted plants, dead leaf litter, wet cardboard and newspaper, and damp or rotten wood.
While most of this list sounds like an outdoor problem, earwigs can get into garages, attics, and even basements where old boxes or piles of firewood are present.
7 Tips for Preventing Earwigs
- Take out the trash. Earwigs love to scavenge moist trashcans for decaying matter. Consistency with taking out the trash helps keep out and eliminate earwigs in your home.
- Take care of existing pests. Earwigs like to eat small bugs like mites, aphids, and the eggs of other insects. If you already have other pests wandering around your home, this can be tempting for earwigs. Because of this, you must take care of any and all present pests.
- Fill in cracks and crevices. If your home’s foundation, windows, or doors have entry points, earwigs can easily squeeze their narrow bodies inside. Earwigs are attracted to light, so if lights in the home are left on, earwigs will gravitate toward and search for openings. Sealing holes and cracks can prevent earwigs from attempting to get into your home.
- Repair leaks in pipes and drains. Your home’s pipes and drains can build up moisture if they have holes or openings. Keeping your pipes and drains in good repair will help to avoid creating a climate that allures earwigs.
- Maintain a tidy yard. Earwigs love to hide in and munch on plants and decaying matter. Keeping a clean and neat yard minimizes the number of spots for them to settle down in weeds or dead plants they can consume.
- Use DIY traps. If you already have earwigs, you can use at-home remedies to get rid of earwigs and control the population. Earwig traps such as vegetable oil traps can be effective in killing earwigs.
- Utilize specific scents. There are certain smells that earwigs dislike, which you can use in their natural form or as essential oils, including:
- Eucalyptus oil
- Peppermint oil
- Lavender oil
- Clove oil
- Rosemary oil
- White vinegar
While there are several ways to prevent an earwig infestation, sometimes these problems take expertise and tools you don’t have access to. Pest control services offer a professional perspective and knowledge of proper methods.