Homes and businesses often get unexpected intruders of many pest varieties. Some are more common and likely to infest buildings. Other pests are not as common but as an occasional invader, they are worth mentioning and understanding some of their fundamentals. With that in mind, we at Stewart Termite and Pest Control would like to share some basic information about earwigs.
Earwigs have fairly distinct characteristics; the more obvious one is the pincers or forceps that protrude from the abdomen. These insects are not only odd looking, but they can be somewhat intimidating. The good news is that they are not poisonous and do not spread any diseases. These insects range from about a fifth of an inch to just under an inch in length, depending on the earwig species. Earwigs do have two pairs of wings where the hind wings fold under the front wings against their slender bodies. Their flight patterns tend to be in short awkward bursts, though only few species of earwigs fly.
Are Earwig Infestations Harmful?
There are over 20 species of earwigs in the United States. Some of the species produce a pungent liquid for their defense. Where they all have frightening looking pincers they use to spar rival earwigs as well as self defense. They tend to cluster together in large numbers; scientists believe it is due to the pheromones they secrete. A myth floats around that earwigs burrow in people’s ears; rest easy, this not true.
Where Do Earwigs Live?
Earwigs favor the undisturbed areas that are cool and moist. They are mostly a nuisance under the right conditions in gardens. If the ground cover is adequate, the soils damp, and they have a food source, earwigs will flourish. Most earwig species prefer live sprouts or decaying vegetation as a part of their diet although few species are predators and smaller insects and arthropods are their prey. Earwigs can move relatively quickly and you can see their rapid movements particularly when they are uncovered. Outdoors earwigs will live under logs, mulch, and rocks during the day as they are nocturnal and prefer damp areas to dwell. Because they are attracted to light, summer evenings draw plenty of these obnoxious insects under the lights of patios and porches. Earwigs tend to wonder into buildings and will generally look for shelter if the weather is especially dry or if they are looking for food. Inside earwigs can be found anywhere in the home but have a tendency to be more attracted to bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens where it is the most damp. Earwig infestations are rare, but they can occur.
How to Prevent Earwigs
To avoid this occasional invader, eliminating the hiding place is a good place to start. Outside your home be sure clutter is away from the foundation; this includes decorative stones, logs, firewood piles, and other materials. Avoid keeping the soil 6-12 inches wide from the foundation moist by pushing the mulch, fallen leaves and other organic debris away. Trim shrubs and trees away from the house as well. Make sure the draining water away from the foundation by maintaining the gutters and downspouts. Since these insects are attracted to light, replace the exterior lighting with yellow bulbs instead of white. Block off all vents and ensure the screens are in good condition. Utilize a dehumidifier to control the damp basements.
Occasional Invader Pest Control
Should you find earwigs in your garden, home or business, call Stewart Termite and Pest Control and our professionals will treat your property without delay.