Earwigs are often found in places where there is dampness or moistness, like the bathroom or kitchen. If you notice infestation of earwigs in your house, act immediately to get rid of them.
Did you know that earwigs unlike their name do not crawl inside the human ear canal. However, like any other small insect, it might get inside the ears, if it gets an opportunity to do so. Earwigs, also known as pincher bugs, are a group of insects categorized under the order Dermaptera. Under this taxonomic order, there are 12 families and more than 1,800 identified species. While the common species (Forficula auricularia) that we usually come across in and around our surroundings is dark brown in color, the carnivorous type is bright colored and found mainly in the tropical climatic conditions. As they sense danger, these pincher bugs do not bite us, but they mildly sting to defend themselves.
What do Earwigs Look Like?
One of the characteristic earwig facts is the presence of forceps like pincers called cerci at the distal end of the abdomen. These pair of abdominal appendages are large and curved in a male earwig, whereas the female possesses comparatively smaller and straight cerci. The cerci is used for various purposes like capturing prey, folding wings, and defending. The body of earwigs is usually smooth, narrow, and flattened, which are adaptations for fitting under barks and small crevices.
They have an elongated body and a few species are as large as 80 mm in length. While some earwig types do not bear wings, others have wings, but they hardly fly. In case of winged earwigs, the thin and membranous hind wings are folded neatly underneath the short leathery fore wings. Another identifiable trait of pincher bugs is their jointed antennae. With this brief identification guide, let’s take a look at the probable causes of infestation of earwigs in the house and their removal methods.
What Causes Earwig Infestation in House?
Earwig bugs are nocturnal and remain unnoticeable during day time. They come out at night for feeding. Hence, many homeowners are ignorant of the situation, even if their house is infested with these pincher bugs. They primarily feed on a wide variety of plants and insects. A few of them are parasitic and some species cause significant damage to garden plants.
Earwigs live and migrate in groups; you can find them in mulch piles, garbage, lawn debris, and vegetation. When food is scarce and climate is dry, they may enter the house in search of food and damp condition, mainly through exterior cracks and fissures.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs from your House?
Most homeowners, when they see earwigs in the house, wonder if earwigs are dangerous. It is believed that earwigs are so named because they enter the ears of a sleeping person and make their way to the brain. This is not the case, though it is very scary to see groups of earwigs crawling in the floor.
➜ Earwigs get attracted to moist and damp areas in the house. Hence, make sure you clean such places and keep them dry as far as possible. Give special attention to the foundation sites, basements, and wash basins that usually remain moist.
➜ A common entry point for earwigs is the ground level window. To prevent pincher bugs invasion, you can consider sealing cracks (if any), installing well-fitted window screens, and weather stripping. These tips will surely help in controlling earwigs.
➜ Like windows, doors and wall fissures also serve as an entrance gate for earwigs. You should keep a strict watch over cracks and abnormal fitting of doors. Correct the malfunctions by following do-it-yourself options like caulking, weather stri
➜ Vacuuming the adult earwigs and killing them are sufficient for complete eradication. You should remove the eggs and nymphs as well. A female bug lays about 50 eggs at a time. So, look for the eggs and discard them (if any) in a sealed container.
➜ In case of severe earwig infestation or if you notice a large colony of these bugs in the room corner, get a vacuum cleaner and vacuum them immediately. Do it quickly as they are fast to react and will scatter within a few seconds.
➜ A natural and effectual method of killing earwigs is using boric acid powder. Place it in corners where you think earwigs are present or hiding. Within 1 – 2 weeks, you can succeed in controlling earwigs in home.
➜ Vinegar is also a good repellent for pincher bugs. So, you can think of wiping entrance sites, doors, and windows with concentrated vinegar solution. After smelling vinegar, earwigs will migrate to outdoors.
➜ Other safe products that work great for eliminating earwigs from your house are diatomaceous earth (diatomite), citrus oil, and vegetable oil. Last but not the least, don’t forget to clean your trash bins on a regular basis. Food leftovers and household wastes do invite these pesky insects.
The logic for eliminating these bugs from your house is to identify what attracts them and act accordingly. If the above mentioned natural methods for earwig control do not work out, you can use recommended pesticides or insecticides in an appropriate concentration. Just follow the directions suggested by manufacturer for best results. For severely infested cases, taking help from a professional pest control service is a better approach rather than eradicating these bugs on your own.