Earwigs

Scientific Name: Dermaptera

It is commonly thought that these pests will burrow into your ear while you sleep, hence the common name Earwig. Fortunately this is just a myth, and there is no scientific evidence supporting this claim. However, earwigs will take up residence anywhere there is water, including your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. The three common species in the United States are the European earwigs, red-legged earwigs, and striped earwigs.

Identifying Earwigs

Earwigs have characteristic cerci, a pair of forceps pincers on their abdomen, and membranous wings folded underneath short forewings, hence the scientific order name, "skin wings." Some groups are tiny parasites on mammals and lack the typical pincers.

Information provided by Wikipedia
Earwig Diagram
Earwig diagram with wings extended and closed
By Bugboy52.40 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Facts about earwigs

  • Earwigs have wings but it is rare for them to fly.
  • Male earwigs have curved pincer-like forceps at the end of their abdomen and the females have straight sided ones.
  • Earwigs find shelter under logs, landscape timbers, gutters, downspouts, and other moist, dark areas. If they get into your home they will hide in your laundry, furniture, bedding, or other small dark spots.

Prevention and Removal of Earwigs

There are a number of preventative and nonchemical methods to remove earwigs from around your home or business. First, remove any debris like plant waste, leaves, or piles of bricks, firewood, or lumber from your lawn or the area around the foundation of your home. Ensure your lawn or garden has proper drainage and the irrigation system is working properly in order to reduce any excess moisture.

If you are finding earwigs inside your home, have any cracks, spaces, or gaps caulked and repaired especially around the outside at ground level. Doors and windows are also vulnerable areas where they get in so check the frame and seal. If you find earwigs inside, simply remove them with a vacuum or broom and dust pan.

There are insecticides available that help prevent earwigs and other pest from entering your home but, they are ineffective once these pests have made their way inside. Contact our pest control professionals to learn more about insecticide applications around your home.

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