Are you familiar with these creatures? Many people know them by name (it’s quite a distinct one!), but in our experience fewer folks know much about the insects themselves. So, in order to get this out of the way right away: no earwigs are not insects that will crawl into your ears, burrow into tissue, lay eggs, etc.
Where does the name earwig come from?
Their name is derived either from Old English folklore, which did allege the insects would crawl into people’s ears, or from a description of the shape of the earwig’s wing when it is unfolded. Whatever the case, these creatures, while not exactly misunderstood, skate by on little more than name recognition with most folks.
Where can earwigs be found?
Earwigs were introduced to the United State a little over one hundred years now, and are most commonly found in the southwestern region of the country. They are not social insects, like ants or wasps and do not live in colonies. Earwigs are nocturnal, and are most active at night, where they are typically collecting food. During the day, they are most often found in damp crevices, like the space under tree bark.
What do earwigs look like?
Related to their preference for narrow spaces, their bodies are elongated and flat, typically measuring anywhere from one-third of an inch to nearly two inches long. Their look is especially distinct due to the long set of pincers attached to either side of their abdomen.
Males and females display different types of pincers from each other, with the male pincers being much more dramatically curved in shape. Though the pincers are intimidating in appearance, they are primarily used for gathering food or to defend themselves from predators. The earwig can also spray a foul-smelling secretion from its body to ward off predators.
What do earwigs eat?
When it comes to food, earwigs are omnivorous and they are scavengers. They especially love decaying plant matter. Earwigs will also eat other insects like flies, aphids, and lice found on plants, as well as flowering plants like lettuce, strawberries, dahlias, sunflowers, grapes, certain grasses, and many other varieties. They can be harmful to crops, depending on whether or not they are feeding on insects that harm plants or are doing the plant harm themselves.
Can earwigs harm people?
Earwigs are not aggressive insects, so it is unusual for them to harm humans. It is, of course, possible for them to use their pincers to protect themselves should they feel threatened, but the level of threat is relatively low.
Can earwigs infest my home?
In short, yes they can. Earwigs are attracted to light, making front porches or anywhere you have outdoor, nighttime lighting. The more they’re attracted to your porches and patios, the more likely you’re going to find them in spaces like under patio furniture, in between the boards on a picnic table or adirondack chairs, or between cushions.
Once the warm, summer weather turns to cool autumn nights, if the earwigs can gain access to your home through spaces like broken window or doors seals, they will seek out the warmth your home provides, beginning the infestation. Because dampness and humidity are preferred, finding them in areas like crawl spaces, garages, basements, or near plumbing is not uncommon.
How do I exterminate earwigs?
First, call a professional, like the pest extermination experts at Effective Pest Services. Our goal is to give you the best service and value possible. Once we’ve had the opportunity to discuss your situation with this pest, we’ll carefully examine the areas most common in and around your home in order to understand the full extent of your infestation.
After determining the entry points and identifying any areas of concern, we’ll make a formal recommendation for treatment. When it comes to earwigs, our standard recommendation — one that’s brought satisfaction to many in the greater Loveland area — is immediate extermination of the current infestation, as well as quarterly treatments designed to prevent future infestations from occurring. Once the earwigs have found their way inside, it can be much harder to remove them.
In addition to providing a treatment plan, it’s also likely that we’ll provide tips for further prevention of earwigs and other pests, including removing any standing water you have around the home or on your property, as well as periodically checking the quality of the seals found on your home’s doors and windows.
Are you concerned YOU have an earwig infestation in or around your home? Call Effective Pest Services today for your extermination consultation!