Earwig Control: Earwigs

Description

European earwigs (forficula auricularia) are nocturnal, slender, elongated insects with a pair of large pincers on their abdomens. Their name is derived from their hindwing’s shape, which looks like a human ear. While they sometimes can get indoors, they tend to infest the outdoors. While not harmful to humans, they are still pests known for destroying crops and plant life.

Pest Facts

Color

Dark brown

Legs

Six

Shape

Long, slender, oval

Size

12 to 15 mm long

Antennae

Yes

Flying

Yes, but rarely

Region

World Wide

  • Earwigs tend to stay outdoors.
  • They prefer a cool, damp environment.
  • During the day, they hide in moist, tight places, and come out at night to feed.
  • Prime conditions for them are in places with vegetation and wet soil.

Habits

Earwigs, being nocturnal, like to hide until night, and then feed on plants and vegetation and insects. They are drawn to light, leading them to swarm around outdoor lights. Once morning comes around, they will return to their hiding places, and the cycle continues. In the winter, they will burrow into the ground, and wait out the cold weather. When spring comes around, the females lay eggs, then, once they hatch, tends to the nymphs until they can care for themselves.

Habitat

While earwigs most commonly congregate under rocks, logs, or dead leaves, any moist, cool area will do. Sometimes, they can even be found hiding underneath patio furniture cushions. Sunny, dry areas are inhospitable for earwigs.

Reproduction

During the autumn, earwigs begin mating, and the females lay up to 80 eggs in the early spring. The mother tends to be highly protective of her eggs, keeping them safe from both predators and fungi. The nymphs develop through an incomplete metamorphosis, and are cared for until they are capable of feeding on their own.

Lifespan

An earwig grows to adulthood in twenty days, and live for a year from when they hatch.

Threats

An old myth about earwigs is that they burrow into the ears of humans as they sleep to lay their eggs. This is inaccurate, but they can still pose a threat to your home. While they are not venomous or carriers of disease, they feed on plants, which can destroy flower gardens, and kill crops. With enough numbers, they can even damage orchards. Furthermore, they squirt a rank liquid when threatened. As they also congregate under cushions, they can be bothersome to anyone wanting to sit on their patio furniture. While their pincers are large, and look dangerous, at worst they can only barely break skin. Although they do not often dwell indoors, they are still capable of getting into houses if the conditions are right.

Prevention

One way to help prevent earwigs is to keep moisture away from cracks and crevices by installing gutters and spouts. Furthermore, fill up the crawlspaces and other cracks with caulking. Removing organic debris from your property also can help eliminate hiding places. Certain insecticides can be useful, but, it is important to do research to make sure the poison will not be harmful to flowers or crops. Certain herbs, such as mint and basil, can repel them, if you need a more natural option.

Prevention

One way to help prevent earwigs is to keep moisture away from cracks and crevices by installing gutters and spouts. Furthermore, fill up the crawlspaces and other cracks with caulking. Removing organic debris from your property also can help eliminate hiding places. Certain insecticides can be useful, but, it is important to do research to make sure the poison will not be harmful to flowers or crops. Certain herbs, such as mint and basil, can repel them, if you need a more natural option.