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What you need to know about earwigs

Jan 25, 2023

While earwigs look rather scary and intimidating, they are actually pretty close to harmless. Earwigs are not venomous or poisonous, but they can bite you if you sit on one or put on a piece of clothing or a shoe that has an earwig trapped inside. They do emit an unpleasant smell when crushed, but aside from this annoyance, earwigs do not pose a serious threat to the health of people or animals.

How do I identify earwigs?

Earwigs are narrow, segmented insects measuring from ¼ to 1 inch long, dark brown to reddish brown in color, with long pincers sticking out the back of their bodies. Their legs are a lighter brown to yellowish color. Earwigs have long, slender antennae protruding from their heads. Earwigs move very quickly and are known for scurrying away rapidly when disturbed.

When are earwigs active, and what is their life cycle?

Earwigs tend to be active at night in order to feed. During the day, earwigs find dark, moist, cool places to hide, such as under boards, loose dirt, or dense weeds or vines. Female earwigs lay masses of 30 or more eggs during the fall and winter, underground. These eggs hatch into nymphs which remain protected and fed by their mother until their first molt. Older nymphs may leave their mothers to feed at night but will return to her during the day. As they age, nymphs will become darker in color and more independent in their behavior, eventually leaving their mother entirely.

How can I prevent earwigs from infesting my home or property?

Because earwigs are attracted to outdoor areas that offer them plenty of cool, dark, moist hiding places, be sure to clean up any landscaping elements or firewood piles that are close to your home, to prevent earwigs from being attracted to your foundation. Create a dry area near your foundation that is free of moist soil, mulch, dead leaves, etc. Secure any places where earwigs may enter, such as torn screens or unblocked openings. Ensure that your home’s gutters and other drainage features are working properly so that moisture is not building up inappropriately along your structure.

What should I do if I see earwigs in my home or business?

If you have an earwig pest control problem, you should hire a professional exterminator. Earwigs live outside and typically cannot find their usual food sources inside a typical home. They may come inside homes seeking water during dry weather, but earwigs do not “nest” in a traditional sense. However, they do tend to frequent certain areas in large numbers. A pest control expert will treat these areas with professional-grade chemicals to eliminate earwigs thoroughly and quickly. Homemade pesticides and do-it-yourself traps just aren’t as effective as our methods in removing earwigs for good.

West Termite, Pest & Lawn is ready to help you deal with any earwig problems you may encounter. Call us today to learn more about our top notch service!

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