What are earwigs? And how do I get rid of them?
Those creepy little buggers, earwigs! We see them in all sorts of places, outside and inside, and they just won't go away! What are they? Where do they come from? And most importantly, how do I get rid of them? Let's explore the world of earwigs, to better understand their habits and how to keep them out!
The name "earwig" is thought to come from the hind wings, that look like a human ear when unfolded. Perhaps the more humorous version is the old wives tale, in which earwigs burrow into your ear canal to lay eggs. Rest assured, this is not true. Earwigs prefer dark and damp crevices during the day, as they are nocturnal and mostly active at night.
Earwigs typically mate in the autumn, and live for about a year after hatching. They are about 1-2 inches long, and flattened, allowing them to live in chambers in crevices, debris and soil. They have pincers, antennae and hind wings, though they are rarely seen in flight.
The common earwig feeds on insects, such as flies and aphids, and plants such as clover, dahlia, zinnias, lettuces and other fruits and vegetables. They are scavengers, meaning they prefer decaying plant and animal matter. Their eating habits lend them to populate gardens especially, full of the foods they love!
Earwigs in my house!
Outdoors, earwigs will look for food in gardens and planted areas, and they will hide out in lawn furniture, waste bins, hoses, faucets, drains, piles of debris and around foundations. Sometimes, they find their way indoors and can't get back outside.
Indoors, earwigs are typically seen on walls and ceilings, and when they are threatened they fall and scurry to the nearest crevice. They prefer damp, dark areas such as bathrooms and sinks, congregating in crevices that can be concealed during the day. Eliminating these moisture filled areas can help reduce earwig populations. Also, make sure all doors and windows are sealed, as earwigs can get inside through the tiniest crack and crevices.
If you are in need of professional help with pests, contact your local pest management professional. Be sure to ask if they use an Integrated Pest Management approach, combining vector control, exclusion and environmentally low impact treatments to rid your home of pests and keep them from returning.