Earwigs get their name from the unfounded superstition that the pests crawl into the ears of sleeping humans in order to bore into the brain. While the insects exhibit no such behavior, they are still prominent household pests throughout the world.
|Color||Most species range from brown to black in color, while the common European earwig typically appears reddish-brown with yellow-brown legs.|
|Size||Earwigs range in length from about 1/4-1".|
|Appearance||Earwigs are long, narrow, and flat. Their most notable feature is the forceps-shaped cerci that extend from the abdomen.|
Earwigs usually live outdoors feeding on plant material. Indoors, they are found in cracks and crevices and under furniture and carpeting.
After mating in the late summer, females lay 30 to 55 eggs, which they gather and store in a shallow hole. The female will then stand guard over the eggs and coat them with a protective layer of saliva. Depending on the weather, the eggs hatch between 20 and 70 days.
Newly emerging earwigs are called nymphs and undergo four nymphal instars of development.
Developing earwigs reach adulthood in August or September, when they become sexually mature and start to mate.
Earwigs nibble on and damage the leaves and flowers of plants. The damage caused by adult earwigs is not enough to kill or seriously harm plant life, but the insects are capable of creating long-term problems related to the health and vitality of vegetation. Indoors, humans tend to find the pests annoying and even frightening or repulsive.
Signs of Infestation
Crushed or otherwise disturbed earwigs release an odorous, yellow-brown liquid.
Earwig activity often occurs at night.
May notice adult earwigs burrowed in the soil around plants, which may be missing parts of their leaves as a result of the feeding habits of the pests.
Prevention & Control
The best course of action to stop earwigs from entering the home is to take preventative measures, including:
- Exclusion: Even with the use of screens and other barriers, earwigs prove difficult to keep out of buildings. Caulk all crack and crevices.
- Remove hiding spots: The pests frequently take refuge and mate under boards, in tree holes and under bark, and beneath stones.
- Remove nesting sites: While it is difficult to eliminate all potential nesting sites, removing piles of leaves, grass clippings, and similar debris is a good place to start.
- Moisture: To reduce the level of moisture around the home, residents should fix leaky pipes and replace poorly positioned downspouts and broken irrigation systems. To reduce moisture indoors, consider a dehumidifier.
Your Batzner Service Specialist will come to your property to identify the source of the earwigs and determine the proper treatment method. Control begins outdoors by removal of moist harborage sites, such as wood piles, landscape timbers, stones, rocks, etc. The yard should be weeded and flower beds should not be over-mulched. Prevent entry into buildings by caulking gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, and wires.
Once an infestation has already been established, targeted pesticide applications will need to be used. If the infestation becomes uncontrollable and large enough to require the application of professional products, count on a professional pest management service to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.