Perhaps you’ve heard the wives’ tales about nasty insects that Earwig live in people’s ears and want to eat their brains since they have big pincers. Since it was originally believed that earwigs would creep inside the ears of unaware sleepers, lay their eggs, and then feed on their brains, earwigs are unfortunately more well-known for their reputation than for their genuine nature.
Fortunately, these horror film-like tales are made up, as earwigs are just common pests of the house and garden, despite their menacing appearance. They can be beneficial in Pennsylvania since they often eat many of bugs, but they can also seriously damage garden plants.
Around the world and in North America, earwigs are a common pest. Despite being largely harmless to people and animals, these tiny insects often arouse dread because to the huge, pincer-like “cerci,” or appendages, found at the back of their abdomens.
In the section that follows, we’ll address a number of inquiries about earwigs, including what they are, if they are dangerous, and how to effectively get rid of them.
How Do Earwigs Live?
Due to the rarely used, elaborate flight wings located beneath their hard, leathery forewings, earwigs, an insect of the Dermaptera order, which means “skin wing,” are largely harmless.
Yes, earwigs can fly. However, this ability is rarely observed because of their penchant for scurrying across the ground. Earwigs are also incredibly awkward animals that often only fly relatively short distances from great heights to avoid predators.
Though entomologists say that the name derives from the ear-like shape that their flight wings take when fully extended, the origin of the word “Earwig Bite” is unclear. Contrary to popular opinion, the term probably has nothing to do with the exaggerated horror tales of the insect digging its way into ears!
Despite their vile reputation and scary look, these insects are typically harmless. Although there are many different species of earwigs, they all have similar relative traits. Due to their long, narrow, and flat bodies, earwigs can fit into microscopic cracks, spaces beneath bark, around leaves, and other confined spaces that other insects of a same size would be afraid to enter.
In addition, earwigs have six legs, two huge antennae, and two dangerous appendages on their abdomen known as “cerci.” Despite the fact that they are not likely to pinch people or animals, these appendages are the reason for their common moniker, “pincher bug.” Earwigs primarily employ their cerci to fend off predators and seize prey. One of the most obvious variations between male and female earwigs is the size and shape of their cerci, with males having curved appendages and females having straight ones.
Do They Hurt People and Animals?
In general, earwigs pose no risk to you, your family, or your pets. These tiny invertebrates, albeit rarely discovered in ears or pinching people, have a bad image, largely because of their name and their nickname.
The majority of the time, earwigs are found hidden in cracks, crevices, under leaves, or other damp, dark locations. Even in the unlikely event that you come across one, they are unlikely to move their pincers towards you. They typically only show themselves while hunting in the nighttime. Even if an earwig places its cerci on your skin, they are not poisonous and won’t have any lasting damage.
While earwigs may not directly injure people or animals, they frequently endanger gardens and other vegetation, which results in indirect harm through lost crop. While most people won’t be harmed by this, earwigs can seriously reduce the amount of produce from your annual garden!
What Draws Earwigs to Your Residence?
Earwigs migrate to regions where they can find their fundamental needs, such food, water, and shelter, like most annoyance pests do. They also don’t fear habitations by people. Additionally, as earwigs are nocturnal and drawn to light, they frequently wind up visiting porch lights and other lit areas of your house.
Since they are omnivorous, earwigs will eat almost anything that would satisfy them, including:
- Decaying matter matter
- From the environment
- Other Insects
Due to this, earwigs are frequently discovered in gardens and residences that include flora and other invertebrates.
Since earwigs like damp, gloomy places to live, basements, pipes, and any opening just big enough for the insect to fit are all fair game. Additionally, earwigs are common in bathrooms, near sinks, and other places where there is a lot of dampness.
Fortunately, earwigs are rarely the cause of infestations because they are normally solitary and do not live in colonies with a queen.
How Can Earwigs Be Removed?
Preventing earwigs from ever wanting to enter your home is the best way to get rid of an infestation within and around it. Eliminating potential hiding places in your home, such as gaps, crevices, and dark, damp areas, is the most efficient way to accomplish this.
There are numerous actions you may do in your garden to reduce the earwig population. This includes:
- Making a moisture-free zone that extends about a foot out from the foundation of your home;
- Eliminating felled timbers, decaying wood, and other organic debris;
- Moving wood piles away from the foundation and siding;
A similar series of actions can be conducted around the outside of your home, including:
- Blocking potential entrances
- Drying basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms that are prone to moisture
- Making sure drains are in good working order;
- Focusing external lighting on your home rather than on landscaping
Early morning watering of the grass and plants will give them enough time to dry throughout the day.
If these techniques don’t appear to get rid of the earwigs in your house, there are a few extra things you can do. All of the techniques listed below are insecticides, but some are significantly more toxic than others and should only be used under the strictest conditions.
A 50/50 solution of rubbing alcohol and water can assist to repel earwigs from your plants and instantly eliminate the pests. Spraying a 50/50 solution of dish soap and water produces a comparable result and works best where earwigs are typically present. Another fantastic non-toxic remedy is diatomaceous earth; when applied around plant bases and in locations where earwigs are frequently observed, this fossilised algae acts as an abrasive to scratch the critters’ fragile body parts and take out moisture, leading to death by dehydration.
On the hazardous end of the spectrum, substances like boric acid and complementary insecticides can efficiently eliminate existing pests and discourage the recurrence of others. Please be aware that using chemicals and pesticides can often be harmful to humans and pets, therefore you should always use caution.
Call your neighbourhood pest control experts if all else fails! The right planning and remedies may usually control earwig infestations.
So, are earwigs really as dreadful and dangerous as their reputation and appearance would have you believe? Obviously not. It’s unlikely that earwigs will enter your ears to lay eggs or devour your brains like a mad zombie.
Earwigs are tiny members of the order Dermaptera. While they can fly and pinch, they don’t often do either, and they are non-venomous and largely harmless to all people and animals. Therefore, although they might eat gardens and vegetation, they won’t seriously harm your property.
Making your home less inviting and treating them with your preferred chemical or non-toxic remedies will easily get rid of them. And if none of the aforementioned remedies are effective, don’t be afraid to seek the assistance of a licenced pest control expert.