Earwig Control in Idaho

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The most common type of earwig found in the yards of Idaho residents, is an exotic species called the European earwig. These earwigs are easy to recognize from their cerci, which is the large, pincer-like appendages on the hind end. Cerci are used in self-defense and courtship and will deliver only a mild pinch to humans. The earwigs body is elongated, flat and red-brown in color. Earwigs range in length from one-fourth inch to almost one and a half inches long. Adult earwigs have a short pair of leathery wings covering a folded pair of membranous wings. They are weak fliers and move mostly by crawling. As well as their unpleasant appearance, earwigs can also emit a foul smelling, yellow-brown liquid from their scent glands.

The summer months usually produce a high population of earwigs in Idaho, especially when our area has experienced a very wet spring. This contributes to very good reproductive conditions for this occasional home invader. Once temperatures begin to break 80 degrees and continue to climb, earwigs will become more apparent and noticeable in and around the home.

They are omnivorous and will scavenge on dead insects, decayed organic matter, and prey on live insects. Earwigs are nocturnal so if injury to plants is apparent but no culprit can be found during the day, check the plants at night with a flashlight. If shiny, slime trails are present, snails or slugs are the culprit rather than earwigs. If damage to garden plants is apparent or you find many earwigs entering your home, control measures should be considered.

Earwigs are pests outside the home because of the damage they can cause to ornamental and garden plants, and a nuisance when they enter homes seeking shelter and food. They are known to chew on living plant material including leaves, flowers, stems, fruits and roots. Garden plants commonly injured by earwigs in Idaho include annual flowers; especially marigolds, dahlias and zinnias. They also prefer herbs, roses, berries, apricots, peaches, sweet corn tassels and silks.

Are Earwigs Dangerous?
Because of their large pincers, many people assume that earwigs are dangerous, liable to pinch and bite. However, earwigs are relatively harmless creatures. They have no venom, and while those pincers can be used defensively, their main purpose is in competition with other earwigs.

Earwigs get their name from the (surprisingly popular) myth that their preferred nesting ground is in human ears. Stories have circulated since ancient times that earwigs love to burrow into our ears and lay their eggs. While it is true that earwigs like moist places, they’re no more likely to venture into a human ear than any other insect. The biggest problem that earwigs will present for your home is as a threat to your garden. That being said, it’s still not fun to see the little guys crawling around indoors.

Earwig Control
For earwig control, focus on the outside of the home where populations increase during spring and summer. To reduce their entry into your home, create a clean, dry border using gravel or stone immediately around the foundation wall. Eliminate hiding places near the foundation such as ground covers, climbing vines, and weeds. Thick mulches, piles of debris, and leaves or wood are also great hiding places for these insects and will need to be removed. Earwigs hide under mulch plant beds during the day, so be sure to select mulches with smaller-sized particles to reduce refuges. Seal cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and the foundation of the home as well as cable holes in walls.
Earwigs in your home rarely constitute an “infestation” as they don’t congregate in large numbers indoors, or pose the health and safety threat that other insects do. However, there are still ways to prevent them from wandering into your home.

Because their preferred habitat is damp wood, it’s smart to survey your home for drips and leaks. Check over undisturbed areas that are close to garbage or vegetation. Check your irrigation systems and rain gutters to make sure that moisture is being routed away from your home’s foundations.

In order to prevent earwigs in your home, we can evaluate the area and direct you to make changes that will keep them from getting in. Perimeter insecticides can deter earwigs from doors and windows and other entry points into your home.

Apply insecticides around the foundation, flower beds and turf within several yards of the home. In late spring to early summer, suppress earwig populations by targeting sites where they congregate, and on plants when injury appears. Place traps in the evening and collect and remove earwigs in the morning. Effective traps include shallow cans with vegetable or other odorous oils, moist rolled newspaper and cardboard boxes baited with oatmeal or bran. Be sure cardboard containers have pencil-sized holes near the bottom for entry.

While some DIY home treatments may take care of your earwig problem, the most effective solution is to call a licensed pest control company. Beeline Pest Control is at your service!

Questions that People Most Frequently Ask Us

Take a look at some of the typical questions that pop up in the minds of our clients

What type of damage do earwigs cause?

Earwigs can damage your home by eating the wood and leaves of your plants. They can also cause structural damage to your home if they infest it

How did earwigs get their name?

Earwigs got their name from an old wives’ tale that they would crawl into people’s ears and lay their eggs. However, this is not true. Earwigs are attracted to damp, dark places and can often be found in basements, crawl spaces, and other humid areas.

What purpose do earwigs serve?

Many people consider earwigs to be beneficial because they consume other insects, such as aphids. Earwigs, on the other hand, can harm plants and should be avoided if at all possible.

How do I know if I have an earwig infestation?

Some signs of an earwig infestation include finding earwigs in your home or business, seeing damage to your property, and hearing a hissing sound coming from earwigs

Where do earwigs live?

Earwigs are found all over the world. They are attracted to damp, dark places and can often be found in basements, crawl spaces, and other humid areas.

Will an earwig go into my ear?

No, earwigs will not go into your ear. They are attracted to damp, dark places and are often found in basements, crawl spaces, and other humid areas.

Can earwigs bite you?

No, earwigs cannot bite you. However, they may pinch you with their forceps-like jaws if you handle them. If you are pinched by an earwig, wash the area with soap and water to prevent infection.

Are earwigs good for my garden?

Some people believe that earwigs are good for gardens because they eat other insects, such as aphids. However, earwigs can also damage plants, so it is best to keep them out of your garden if possible.

Are earwigs harmful to humans or pets?

No, earwigs are not harmful to humans or pets. However, they can be a nuisance and may cause damage to your property if they infest it.