If conditions outdoors become inhospitable, earwigs will enter our living spaces. The earwigs may seek warmth in the event of low temperatures. A second possibility is if the conditions in the normal shelter for the earwigs start drying out. A damp basement can lead to excessive moisture and cover. Wet basement walls can drip onto the floor and create hospitable conditions for earwigs. In this way, they are protected from cold weather. Earwigs are also known to migrate inside their natural habitats when they see lights.
While earwigs are not a common pest, they do prefer living in our spaces. However, due to human activity, poor maintenance of screens and doors, as well as conditions that allow for excessive moisture, the insects may be able to enter our apartments or houses.
What can I do to keep earwigs out of my house?
If an earwig enters a residence, whether it is alone or with others, it could be that the conditions outside are too harsh, or because they are comfortable inside. Earwigs prefer moist areas, so it is important that conditions are right for them inside.
These conditions can make it appear as though no apartment or house is likely to be home to an infestation of earwigs. However, basements may have leaks and condensation which will create the humid and wet environment that earwigs love. If there are leaves on a unfinished basement or even a dirt floor, it is a perfect environment for earwig populations.
There are conditions that can support earwigs in crawl spaces with dirt floors. In homes without vapor barriers or dehumidification there may also be problems.
Making it difficult for earwigs to survive in a house is the most crucial task. Make sure to install a barrier around the crawlspace. Dry the crawl as soon as possible.
Earwigs can wander into your home because the weather outside is not ideal. Make sure the door sweeps fit tight and all foundation points are free from cracks. You can install screens in weep holes made of brick. Make sure that all window screens fit securely.
Earwigs can be prevented from getting into a home or apartment by doing a little bit of preparation and checking the area once a year. Pest control professionals also can offer guidance and have tools they can employ to keep earwigs out of the home.
Because earwigs are attracted to moisture it is important to eliminate high moisture areas. They may still be visible during the day, even though they are not seen, around foundations or under stones, boards, mulches, and other areas.
Seek out ways to reduce dampness, particularly around crawl spaces, faucets, or along foundations.
Rain gutters or spouts are designed to direct rainwater away from your house’s foundation.
Layout a new landscape by creating a clear, dry border right around the foundation walls. Gravel and ornamental stones are attractive options to protect against pest infestations like earwigs.
Prevention of future problems
Start by removing their hiding places to help avoid future problems. Remove leaf piles, excess vegetation, and any stored wood from around the yard. To keep mulch, dead leaf, and other vegetation from contacting your home’s foundation, place them 6-12 inches apart. Trim trees and shrubs around your house to eliminate any damp or shady spots.
These are just a few of the many steps you can do to help prevent future earwig issues. Make sure your gutters and downspouts have a proper drainage system to keep moisture out of the home. This will prevent them from attracting earwigs. Make sure to seal any cracks, crevices, or holes in your foundation. For leaks, cracks, or tears in screen screens, check doors, windows, foundation vents, attic, and basement vents. You can use a basement dehumidifier for excess moisture removal and to repair leaky faucets inside.
To stop them from getting in, apply Ortho(r] Home Defense(r] Insect Killer Indoor & Perimeter to the exterior of your house.
Getting Rid Of Earwigs
To eliminate earwig infestations, call pest control specialists. Smaller infestations can be prevented and reduced by doing the following:
Vacuuming Daily – Regular vacuuming will not only eliminate any earwigs on your floor, but can also remove food sources. Earwigs can be removed by vacuuming daily.
Do you need to humidify your home? Place a dehumidifier or fan under any damp areas in your house, like the bathroom. Earwigs may return outside if they don’t have an area to call home.
Keeping Entries Secure – Earwigs get in the home by coming in your doors, windows and any small cracks in your home. You can caulk the window sills or place a cloth underneath your doors to stop earwigs entering.
You can try to control earwigs in your own home, but it is best to have a professional pest control company spray your home and yard to eliminate the majority of the problem. There are several things you can do at home after your first attack to repel them.
Beebe’s Pest & Termite Control combined has more than 100 years of experience with insect and termite control. Let us help with your earwig problem.
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Register for our newsletter. Pick lettuce leaves, and many more fall from them. This year they are all over the place: under cars, in houses cracks, even in clothes. Earwigs.
Local nature is always a surprise if you are open to it. It’s always exciting to see a new bird in your backyard or find something unusual like mating serpents. An abundance of earswigs might not be considered delightful. For a curious naturalist, even pest species can offer surprises.
The world has more than 2000 species of earwigs. These earwigs can be found all over the globe, on every continent but Antarctica. They are members of the Order Dermaptera in the insect family. Their distinctive pincers freak people out and they have wings they don’t use often.
The folklore surrounding earwigs dates back centuries. You might find the truth even stranger and more startling than any tall tale. For more information on earwigs and earwig loving, read this article. You can read more.
That Earwig In Your House
Ten native species are found in the United States. They also eat other insects and vegetation. This is an American earwig that we will not encounter, however.
European earwigs are the ones you’ll find crawling in your basement and around your garden. This species has been documented for the first times in Seattle in 1907. Since then, it has spread throughout Europe.
While it’s considered a pest in the home and gardens, they are not as severe as other invasive species. It can damage raspberries and cause a lot of leaf pockmarks in the backyard garden. These leaves don’t have any major environmental or economic impacts.
Washington State University found that European earswigs were even beneficial in a study. Research has shown that European earwigs are aphid-prey, which reduces the damage caused to commercial apple trees.
Signs Of Earwigs
Earwigs live in moist and cool environments. Because they are outdoor-living, they can be seen and heard eating outdoors. This makes indoor infestations less likely. The following signs could be indicative of the presence earwigs
Foul smell–Earwigs produce yellowish-brown secretions when crushed or scared. A strong smell could indicate that the bug is present.
Night lights – Earwigs like to come out at night to search for food. They would love to be found at this time. Earwigs can be attracted to bright light, so you might start your search in a place that has bright lighting.
Dead plants and leaves – Earwigs preferred food source is dead and dying vegetation. The most common place to find earwigs are in the garden and in any leaf piles, as they get the benefit of protection and food in one location.
Cold and moist locations – Earwigs are sensitive to dry and hot air. The earwigs prefer cool and humid environments in which to nest and where they can live. Earwigs will seek refuge in the basement, which is more cold and susceptible to water leakage.
How To Prevent Earwigs In The Future
Make sure you get rid of all earwigs from your home. Below are some suggestions to help prevent the earwigs coming back to your house.
Window screen holes: If your windows have a screen to protect them, ensure that the screen is intact. Repair and cover any window screen holes to prevent earwigs from entering your home.
Do not fill holes or cracks in your house. Caulk should be used to fill any holes or cracks in the foundation so the pests can’t get into those tiny crevices.
Leakage in pipes and drains – Earwigs seek out cool, moist places to live and scavenge. Check your house for leaky pipes and drains. These hot spots can be fixed to eliminate an earwig’s perfect environment.
Eliminate leaf, stone, and wooden piles. Earwigs are attracted to natural homes that offer protection and quality food.
Do not leave piles full of stones and leaves.
You should keep vegetation out of the home. You can reduce the likelihood of earwigs entering your home by keeping this vegetation away.
European Earwig (Forficula Auricularia).
A legend states that the “earwig” is an insect that enters the ears of sleepers and bores into the brain to lay eggs. Although they do have two sharp-looking forceps (or pincers) on the tail, these insects are harmless. If the animal is not handled carefully, they can cause a painful pinch. The earwig is nocturnal, and they hide under logs or tree bark in moist, cool places during the day. They feed primarily on decaying vegetation but will occasionally feed on living plants, and live or dead insects. In small burrows that are tended by the mother, young develop underground. The third week of June is when they start to emerge in their underground nests. Earwigs find their way into homes through cracks around basement windows, doors, and other points of entry located near ground level. Earwigs have no wings and rarely fly. They can gather in large numbers in the autumn on the sides and roofs of houses, as they search for winter shelters. Although earwigs may not be the most popular insect in our household, they can still bite and sting you, store food or other items, as well as transmit diseases to your trees or spread disease. The best method of controlling earwigs inside of the home is to vacuum them up. They can also be controlled with persistent insecticides, such as Permethrin which comes in a range of brands, Cyfluthrin for commercial use, Tempo or Bayer Advanced Garden Insect Control, or an Ortho product.
Before you apply any pesticide make sure to carefully review the label. Avoid spraying areas with small children.
Cultural Practices-Earwigs can be discouraged by removing their natural habitat, which is the yard and leaves. The basement, ground and upper floors should be sealed tightly. If the basement is damp, reducing humidity may make it less inviting for earwigs to enter, and cause those that do enter to die.
Monitoring and Trapping: Cat food cans or tuna fish containers with 1/2 inch of oil (fish or vegetable oil, with a small amount of bacon grease) can be used for monitoring for earwigs. Placing the can on the ground, make sure the bottom is parallel to the soil. Another trap is moistened cardboard tubes, damp newspaper or rolled-up newspapers. In the morning, check the traps and cans. Shake earwigs into soapy water. You can reduce your population by intensive trapping for several days.
Chemical Control: Chemical control can be used to remove a growing population. Apply pesticides outdoors to the areas where you see earwigs. Treat the entire infested area except where indicated in the precautions stated on the pesticide label. You should apply the pesticide early in the season to encourage earwigs to leave their nests. Then, you can use it again during mid-summer for more severe cases. Consult your county Agricultural Field Specialist for specific pesticide recommendations.
Do not stop! Read the label on every pesticide container each time before using the material. Pesticides must be applied only as directed on the label to be in compliance with the law. The continued registration is required to use all pesticides included in this publication. Contact the Division of Pesticide Control at (603) 271-3550 to check registration status. Follow New Hampshire regulations to dispose of empty containers in a safe manner.
Get the entire factsheet in the PDF.
Earwigs can bite
Medically reviewed by Daniel Murrell, M.D.
Ana Gotter. Updated September 18, 2018. Photos of symptoms, treatment complications prevention What exactly is an earwig.
Long-standing legends claim that the earwig can crawl inside an individual’s ear to live or eat their brain. The myth of the earwig climbing inside your ear is true. Earwigs do not feed on human brains or lay eggs inside your ear canal.
Earwigs, small insects, are very common. Their appearance can vary from black to brown, with or without orange markings. Their abdomen is covered with pincers that protrude from their back. The pincers they have are for protection and to catch their prey. They are similar to forearms.
Their habitat is dark and moist so they love to live near or in their homes. In winter months they’re more likely than not to move inside. They feed on plants of all kinds.
It is important to remember that earwigs can not bite but are very rare. A earwig won’t bite, but it is less likely to pinch. It might pinch your skin so hard that it causes bleeding or breaks. But it’s unlikely for the earwigs to draw blood.
What should I do if there is an earwig found in my home?
Earwigs inside the house do not cause any harm or destruction. Earwigs can cause nuisance and annoyance by their presence. They can cause a foul-smelling odor when disturbed. Earwigs that are found in the house should be removed or swept away.
Why do I have earwigs?
You may find earwigs in your home because: (1) the outdoor conditions are changing and they’re too dry, wet, or hot; (2) outside lighting might be increasing their attraction and (3) there could have been an accident that allowed them into your home. Jun 21, 2019
Can An Earwig Hurt You?
They can grasp on to a finger with their forceps if they become agitated. But earwigs don’t sting or are dangerous. Earwigs do not contain venom so they aren’t poisonous. Bed bugs or mosquitoes, for example, can bite people. You can read more about earwigs here. No known injury has been caused by earwigs that requires emergency care.
What Can I Do If My House is Infested by Earwigs
A very small number of people have ever encountered an earwig invasion in large numbers. Even if they do infest homes and apartments, they can be considered an invasion because these insects are usually found outside.