Learn about Earwigs
European earwigs (Forficula auricularia) are nocturnal, slender, elongated insects with a pair of large pincers on their abdomens.
Their name is derived from their hind wing’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.
|Long, slender, oval||12 to 15 mm long|
|Yes||Yes, but rarely|
- 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.
Earwigs, being nocturnal, like to hide until night, and then feed on plants, 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, they tend to the nymphs until they can care for themselves.
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.
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.
An earwig grows to adulthood in twenty days, and live for a year from when they hatch.
An old myth about earwigs is that they burrow into the ears of humans as they sleep to lay 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 the skin. Although they do not often dwell indoors, they are still capable of getting into houses if the conditions are right.
One way to help prevent earwigs is to keep moisture 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 vital to 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.