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What Are Earwigs?

Earwigs are the stuff of legends. It has long been rumored that these creepy crawly insects will crawl into the ear of a sleeping human, burrow into the brain, and lay its eggs there. Fortunately, this is completely untrue, but it is still not a good idea to have these alien-looking creatures lurking behind your bathtub. 

Though only around 6-25 mm in length (depending on the species) earwigs can be startling to encounter. An earwig also has 2 antennae, 6 legs, 3 body parts, and a set of formidable pincers at the end of its abdomen. Earwigs make up the insect order Dermaptera. Along with their forceps-like pincers, they also have a pair of membranous wings that fold underneath a pair of forewings. 

Mostly nocturnal creatures, earwigs often hide inside small, moist crevices during the daytime hours and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of plants and insects. Before becoming adults, immature earwigs go through 5 molts. Many earwig species display maternal care, which is uncommon among insects. Female earwigs may care for their eggs and even watch over nymphs after they hatch until their second molt. 

Earwigs are creatures that eat mostly leaves, fruits, seedlings, vegetable plants, flowers, insects, and mold. It is their love of mold that often brings them into areas where wood has rotted. Some species of earwig feed on insects, some only feed on plants. But most feed on everything.

Problems Caused By Earwigs

Although earwigs are harmless to humans, they can make themselves a frustrating pest when they get into flower beds, gardens and, certainly, homes. When damage to flowers, foliage, and various crops occurs, earwigs are often to blame, especially the common earwig Forficula auricularia. 

Although earwigs don't bite humans, they do sometimes pinch. Though a pinch from an earwig is unlikely to break the skin, it can be painful. And if an earwig has come into contact with harmful bacteria, it could transfer that bacteria into a wound if it does manage to break the skin. Because of this, it is a good idea to apply antibacterial lotion to the puncture. 

In homes, if earwigs are present, this could be a warning sign of bigger pest problems. Earwigs are unlikely to create holes to get into homes. However, if they find holes that have been made by carpenter ants, termites, or some other damaging pest, they will be more than happy to utilize those holes to gain entrance. Rodents also chew holes in homes, and earwigs will use those as well. Earwigs can be a sign that there is water damage in your home. This could be caused by a broken gutter system. And, it is important to note that wet wood is a magnet for many damaging or nuisance pests.

Earwig Prevention Tips

  • Inspect your yard for wet or moist areas and address those areas. Rake up leaves and other yard waste. Remove weeds. Trim bushes and other vegetation away from your home. And make sure to keep your grass trimmed neatly. This will deter earwigs and other moisture-loving pests.

  • Inspect the outside of your home. Carefully look over your foundation and walls for gaps, cracks, and holes where earwigs and other insects, or rodents, might squeeze through. Be sure to look closely around windows and door frames and any place where pipes, wires, or other items enter through your walls. Liquid cement is a good tool to use on foundations and a caulking gun is great for wall holes.

  • Make sure the area directly around your home is dry. If you have mulch, consider installing crushed rock instead. If you prefer to keep your mulch, make note that a professional pest control company can put a chemical barrier between your mulch and the foundation of your home.

  • Check all door sweeps to make sure they are in good working order. Also, check weather stripping.

  • Be sure that the inside of your home is dry. If you have moist or humid areas, use fans and/or dehumidifiers to dry things out. Always remember to use the fan while taking a shower to keep the moisture level down in the bathroom. 

Moyer Pest Control can help if you need your home inspected for earwigs, entry points, and other more dangerous pests. Reach out to us today for immediate service.

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