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Quick Facts Earwigs



Earwigs are a part of the Dermaptera insect order. Dermaptera is Greek meaning; derma, “skin”, and ptera, “wings”. Their common name, earwig, itself comes from an old folk’s tale that suggests these bugs would crawl into the ears of people and lay eggs inside the brain. This is a fictional tale, however and does not hold any scientific fact. They do however have two long pincers protruding at the end of their body, which is why they are nicknamed, “pincher bugs”.

European Earwig

Female with Eggs and Nymphs

Maritime Earwig

Besides their prominent pincers, which are curved on males and straight on females, adult earwigs have two pairs of leathery wings, antennae, six legs and dark brown, reddish, black or tan bodies. Their pincers, known as forceps, are used for defense and to aid in feeding. If picked up an earwig will likely use their forceps as protection. This is not a bite or a sting, but it can be a good hard pinch, which will rarely break the skin. Earwigs move quickly and can be seen scurrying from disturbed hiding places. Earwigs emit a scent (undetectable by humans) that attracts other earwigs and some also produce a foul smelling, yellow brown liquid, as a means of self-defense.

Typically, earwig season takes place in late spring and early summer. In colder, winter months, earwigs will stay underground until the ground begins to warm. Female earwigs lay eggs (approximately 80 at a time) at the beginning of spring, with newly hatched earwigs ready to enter the world as the weather becomes warmer and conditions tolerable. While earwigs like to find cool and moist environments to live in, they are warm weather insects.

Earwigs aren’t picky eaters, and they don’t care if their food is alive or dead. Their forceps allow them to consume tough foods, giving them plenty of dietary options. They’ll often be found feeding (and living) in compost piles, layers of wet leaves, mulch and areas with algae, mold and fungi. Small insects such as aphids and even snails are on their menu. If they make it inside your home, don’t be surprised to find earwigs feeding on your trash.

When earwigs get inside a home or business, they can be a real nuisance. They usually come inside for one of two reasons: to escape inclement weather conditions and accidental transport inside by humans. Once inside they will seek out spaces that offer a dark, damp environment similar to the moist soil they enjoy outdoors. These areas include basements (sub-areas), kitchens, laundry rooms, potted plants and more.

Keeping these ugly, opportunists out of your home or business takes some general maintenance to the physical structure. This includes repairing cracks and crevices in foundations and exterior walls, caulking around window and door frames and fixing screens and installing door sweeps. Outside in the yard, keep trash, wood piles, rocks, decorative bark, compost piles and dense foliage a good distance away from the structure. Don’t over water and repair leaky faucets, pipes and irrigation equipment. Cut tall grass, prune dense foliage, get rid of insects that are a food source for earwigs. Deny earwigs a place to live and food to eat. Always check boxes, bags, newspapers, and new potted plants that you bring into your living spaces. They are prime hideouts for earwigs.

If you have done all you can to eliminate earwigs on your property, but they are still making a nuisance of themselves, it is time to call in the professionals. Corky’s Pest Control has developed an Earwig Control Service, that effectively gets rid of an immediate infestation by:

  • Applying botanical or low impact treatments to known harborage areas and underneath plantings.
  • Applying Treatments to foundation areas and any cracks and crevices where earwigs are most apt to hide.
  • Interior treatments are rarely necessary but are preformed when needed. An interior service is always accompanied by an exterior service.

To effectively control earwigs a consistent control service is required. Problems can reoccur quickly as they migrate from neighboring properties or future generations hatch and begin the re-infestation process again. Corky’s Ultimate Pest Control Service is a year-round control service for Ants and Spiders and offers prevention for ticks, aphids, whitefly, mosquitoes and more. Once an earwig service has been performed, earwig prevention can be added at no additional charge.

Call Corky’s to get rid of earwigs. 1-800-901-1102 Go online to get questions answered or to order and schedule a service, today.