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What are Earwigs? Are They Dangerous? How to Get Rid of Them? Find Out

What are Earwigs?
What are earwigs? Do they bite? Find answers to all these questions and more, in the information presented here.
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Most of us have a severe aversion to the sight of any type of creepy, crawly bugs. To add to our annoyance, there are different orders, species, and types to deal with. One of these insect orders are the earwigs. Before any description, it is important to know that they are absolutely harmless to humans. It is only plants they attack and infest. Being long, flat, reddish-brown bugs, they are easily identifiable by the presence of pincers at the base of their abdomen. These pincers are a form of defense, and also are useful during courtship. Though they have wings, they cannot fly.
Why Are They Called Earwigs?
There has been a popular superstition that earwigs get into the human body through the ear, and feast on the brains. This is completely untrue. As mentioned earlier, they do not harm humans in any manner, except for a bite once in a while.
What Do Earwigs Feed On?
These bugs usually survive on plants (dead or alive) and insects. They can in fact, take care of your rotting plants, as well as other insects such as aphids and mites, by feasting on them. The problem arises when they infest your garden or houseplants, and begin destroying the roots, flowers, and leaves. They also have the ability to destroy any vegetable you might be growing, all overnight. If you happen to leave any sweet or oily food outside during the night, consider it gone, as earwigs enjoy feeding on such foods too.
Conditions For Survival
Earwigs need a moist environment to survive, and are usually active during the night. During the day, they will take shelter under stones, in the soil, or in debris, as these are places that will provide them with the dark, moist environment they need for survival. If the weather is dry outdoors, they tend to move indoors, and set up shop in your houseplants. Slowly, they may move into other dark spaces such as under cushions and rugs, under the kitchen sink, and in your basement, where it is dark as well as damp. During winters, they can live up to 6 feet below the soil, to protect themselves from the dry, cold weather. If they are in an area that has perennially warm climate, they can remain active throughout the year.
Earwigs reproduce mainly during spring or autumn. If it rains during this time, it becomes even more conducive for their population to grow. A female earwig has the ability to lay about 20-50 eggs, which are laid underground, or below the soil. The mother earwig will take care of her little ones till they are able to fend for themselves.
Outdoor Removal Methods
Earwigs first make their way to your garden, and if they are uncontrolled they can get inside your house too. To prevent such an eventuality, follow some of these methods to control their population outdoors.
  • Since you are aware that earwigs survive in dark and moist places, first get rid of these. These places include piles of wood, stones, upturned pots, plant debris, etc.
  • Encourage birds to enter your garden, as they are natural predators of these bugs. Set up feeders to attract them.
  • A great way of getting rid of them is to keep damp newspapers in your garden. They are likely to get attracted to it, and you can dispose off these newspapers the next day.
  • Put small amounts of vegetable oil in small containers, and place them all over your garden. The earwigs will die after climbing into these containers.
Indoor Removal Methods
Have they made it indoors already? Their number keeps on increasing, and you are unable to find an effective solution to this problem. Here are some methods of earwig removal and control.
  • You may prevent earwigs from entering your household, by repairing any cracks in the foundations. They usually gain entry through such areas. Moreover, keeping the house dry and clean is the best way to keep them away. Put a layer of gravel around your foundation to keep the area dry.
  • Since earwigs are very flat, they can easily make their way through screen doors, and the tiny crack between your window and window sill. Ensure that your windows and doors are sealed well, and fitted to the frames properly.
  • Use boric acid around common entryways. Sprinkling some in areas, where they are now prevailing, will also help get rid of these bugs.
  • Vacuum cleaners are also known to be useful. Keep your vacuum cleaner ready before you attack them, as the minute they sense any movement, they will scurry away.
There are several insecticides and other methods of pest control available in the market for the purpose of getting rid of earwigs. These are known to be effective remedies for killing them, both indoors and outdoors. When used outdoors, these insecticides should be sprayed around the foundation of the house, after mixing them with water. They will seep into the soil, and prevent earwigs from laying their eggs underneath. Hopefully, with this information, you will be able to prevent these bugs from destroying your peace.