Earwigs are unwelcome guests nobody wants in their home. These insects with pincer-like appendages at the end of their abdomen can be found in households across the world. In this article, we will explore the reasons why earwigs may be attracted to your home and how to get rid of them.
Earwig Biology & Habitat
Earwigs are members of the insect order Dermaptera and are characterized by the pincers on their abdomen. They are typically nocturnal insects and are most active at night. During the day, they hide in tight and dark spaces such as cracks, crevices, and under rocks or logs. When they invade a home, they usually prefer damp and dark areas such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
Earwig Life Cycle
Earwigs undergo incomplete metamorphosis, which means they develop through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Female earwigs lay around 20 to 80 eggs in underground burrows or in other damp places. After hatching, the nymphs molt several times over the course of three to four months before reaching adulthood. The adult stage can last up to a year or longer.
Earwigs are omnivores and will feed on both plant and animal matter. Their diet can include insects, other arthropods, fungi, lichens, and decaying organic matter.
Why Do Earwigs Come Inside Your House?
Earwigs are attracted to warm and damp environments, which is why they may enter your home during the hot summer months or after a heavy rainfall. They may also come inside in search of food or shelter. Common ways earwigs can get into your home include cracks and gaps in the foundation, doors, and windows, and through utility pipes and vents.
If you live in an area with high humidity or have a leaky pipe in your house, earwigs may be attracted to the increased moisture. Additionally, if there are piles of leaves or decaying matter in your yard, this could serve as a potential food source and shelter for earwigs, which may increase the chances of them seeking refuge inside your house.
Attracted to Light
Earwigs are attracted to light, especially during the night, and thus may enter your home through open windows or gaps in screens.
Climate Change & Earwing Migration
With the changing climate, the migration patterns of insects including earwigs have been altered. With the rise in global temperature and levels of precipitation, it is expected that insect infestations will become more frequent, and earwigs may be one of the culprits.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs
Removing Earwigs Physically
One of the easiest ways to get rid of earwigs is to remove them physically. This can be done by vacuuming them up, then disposing of the vacuum bag outside. You could also use sticky traps or rolled-up wet newspaper to catch them. Alternatively, you can create a DIY trap by placing a mix of oil and soy sauce in a container and placing it in areas earwigs frequent.
Sealing Entry Points
Sealing entry points can be an effective way to prevent earwigs from entering your home. This may include caulking around doors and windows, filling in gaps in the foundation, and blocking vents and utility pipes.
Reduce Moisture Levels
Since earwigs are attracted to moisture, reducing moisture levels in your home can make it less attractive for them to stay. This can be done by fixing any leaks or moisture problems, using a dehumidifier, and ensuring proper ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-humidity areas.
Chemical treatments such as insecticidal sprays specifically designed for earwigs can be used to get rid of them if the methods above are not effective. It may be necessary to consult a professional pest control service if your infestation is severe.
Preventing Earwigs in Your Home
Preventing earwigs from entering your home is the key to avoiding an infestation. Here are some preventative steps you can take:
- Keep your yard clean and free of decaying matter.
- Maintain proper drainage around your home.
- Install screens on doors and windows.
- Seal any entry points into your home.
- Reduce the amount of outdoor lighting nearby doors and windows.
What do earwigs eat?
Earwigs are omnivores and will eat both plant and animal matter.
Do earwigs bite humans?
Earwigs do have pincers on their abdomen, but they are not typically harmful to humans. In rare cases, a pinch from an earwig may result in a small wound that requires attention from a healthcare provider.
Do earwigs cause damage to plants?
Earwigs can damage plants by feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruit. They are especially attracted to fruit trees and vegetable gardens.
Earwigs can be a nuisance for homeowners, but they can be dealt with using the methods discussed above. By taking preventative measures and promptly responding to any signs of infestation, you can keep earwigs and other pests at bay.