SERVING FLORIDA SINCE 1990

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YOUR GUIDE TO EARWIGS

If you’re wondering if earwigs actually climb in your ears, don’t worry it’s a myth with no scientific data to prove that they do. Technically any bug could climb where every they choose, though, are they targeting your ears? Never. Earwigs are odd looking insects that have pincers protruding from their abdomen. They use these for defense and for sparring with rival insects. These can be somewhat intimidating looking, but they’re not poisonous or disease spreading.

Depending on the species, adults can range in size from 5-25mm. These pests are slender insects with 2 pairs of wings. They have a leathery appearance to their wings, and their hind wing typically folds under the front wings. Now you must be asking, do they fly? Even though most species of earwigs have wings, not all species fly. The ones that do fly are not the most agile of flyers in most cases.

There are over 20 species of earwigs in the United States alone. Some species produce a foul-smelling liquid that they use for defense, as well as a pheromone. As with any other type of insect with multiple species, biology and habits vary. Most types of earwigs generally prefer wet areas which are cooler and undisturbed.

Earwigs can be a serious garden pest if conditions are right. If there is adequate ground cover, wet soil, and food, the earwigs will do well. They typically feed on live sprouts or decaying vegetation and, in rare cases, some species are predators, eating other insects.

They move relatively fast and run when ground litter is moved. They’re active at night, and during the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They like to live under rocks, logs, and in mulch in flower beds. They’re also attracted to lights, as most bugs are.

During the summer they can become a nuisance on porches and patios on summer evenings. Earwigs can move into homes to scavenge for food or because of a change in the weather. They tend to find themselves indoors while seeking shelter or just happened to wonder in doors through an opening in the foundation.

They prefer a cool and damp environment and may enter homes during extended dry periods. Your can find them near sources of water like kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Though they can turn up anywhere, infestations are very rare.

Females can lay anywhere between 30-50 eggs at a time. After hatching, the nymphs undergo 4-5 molts until they become adults. Nymphs look like adults minus the wings.

The most important part of controlling earwigs is eliminating their hiding places. If their harborages are not addressed, insecticide application will probably not control earwigs as well.

To help prevent earwigs make sure to clean up any landscape timbers, eliminate moist soil and trim overhanging branches. Around the home make sure to examine the gutters and downspouts to make sure they’re draining properly, set the irrigation systems so that it will water in the morning and allow the landscape to dry during the day. You can also change outside lightbulbs to yellow lights, as well as secure entry points and dry out moisture prone areas.

If you find that you’re still having an earwig problem on your property after doing the above, reach out to a Palm Coast Pest Control representative today!