Earwigs, which are generally harmless to people, nonetheless can be a nuisance to homes and other structures. They are known to move into homes and outdoor sheds during the summer, sometimes in large numbers.
Earwigs are found throughout the United States. They are nocturnal and prefer to keep out of sight during the daylight hours. They also prefer to confine themselves in dark, damp areas. They crawl under welcome mats, behind flowerpots and other outdoor objects and lie in wait between crevices and cracks in homes and sheds until nighttime.
Earwigs are typically about five-eighths of an inch in length. They are flat, with a copper-colored brown body and a short wingspan. They have antennae and a mouth capable of chewing and are further distinctive because of their strong pinchers known as cerci, located at the forefront of their abdomens. These pinchers are used for defensive maneuvers if another insect attacks. The earwig will also utilize these pinchers aggressively when they go on the attack to subdue their prey.
Behavior & Diet
Earwigs are scavengers and will mostly eat other small insects and plant material. They eat corn silk, seedlings and can cause severe damage to these and other plants, including flowering plants. Because of the intensity of their destructive feeding habits, the damage earwigs cause is often confused with that of cutworms or even rabbits.
Earwigs build specially constructed nests where the female lays her eggs and waits until her offspring are hatched, usually in the spring. Female earwigs are maternal, an unusual trait exhibited among insects, and will guard her eggs and offspring.
Earwig vs. Roach
There are similarities in color and the shape of the bodies between earwigs and roaches, but they are two distinct varieties of insects. Two of the main differences between the two insects is that the cockroach does not have pinchers and proliferates indoors as opposed to earwigs with their preference for outdoor infestation.
Though earwigs can bite, they rarely do. However, they may pinch you.
Earwig infestations typically occur during the summer months and can grow to large numbers unless they are controlled. DIY traps and control options typically fall short of complete control. Once the infestation occurs, professional assistance is likely needed to remove the threat and help keep the infestation from recurring.
Are Earwigs Dangerous?
As mentioned before, earwigs are generally harmless to people. However, they are still a nuisance pest and generally creepy looking, so you’ll probably want to get rid of them. Using the correct methods of pest control is essential. Partial elimination of an earwig infestation does not address the problem. It is important, in order to ensure success and to help prevent further infestation, to contact a pest control professional to apply proven methods of control.
Earwigs in the House
In the home, earwigs can gain entry through cracks or crevices in the foundation. They will seek damp, dark places in order to reproduce. It is recommended that homeowners caulk these vulnerable places in the home in order to help keep earwigs from gaining entry.
Help Get Rid of Earwigs
To help minimize the threat of an earwig infestation:
Try to keep garden and home areas free of excess moisture
Police the property and inspect for signs of earwigs
Ensure your yard has good drainage
Seal any vulnerable openings in the home’s foundation with caulk
Contact a pest control professional for effective methods of control
By taking the necessary precautions in your home, you can help remove current and prevent future earwig populations. A pest control professional can help. Contact Terminix and have a pest control specialist inspect your home and employ the proper methods to help prevent earwig infestations.