Earwigs. You've probably heard the term before. But do you know what they are? To just look at the name, one might think this is some sort of weird kind of ear covering. Sort of like earmuffs, only made out of hair! Can you picture it? Tiny little wigs that people wear on their ears? Maybe some could be blonde and curly, while others long, shiny and black? Anyway, we digress. They aren't ear coverings at all.
Earwigs are a misunderstood creature. Legend has it that these insects crawl inside people's ears and burrow into the brain. However, earwigs do not do this. In fact, they are almost completely harmless to humans. These beetle-like, short-winged, fast-moving insects are about ½ to 1 inch in length, possess chewing-type mouthparts, a pair of pincers at the tip of their abdomen, and are generally dark brown. Now on to some of the more common questions we all have about earwigs.
Do earwigs bite?
Although earwigs have pincers that they may use on human skin if they are picked up, they do not bite. The worst that can happen with a pinch is the skin might be broken and a Band-Aid with antibacterial ointment will need to be applied.
What do earwigs eat?
Most species feed on decaying organic plant matter, composting leaves, and wet mulch. Not only do they feed on these things, they live and lay their eggs in these wet, dark, rotting things.
What do earwig eggs look like?
Earwig eggs are white to tan and nearly round. If interrupted while laying eggs, the female earwig of some species will squirt a foul-smelling liquid. If mulch is pulled back at just the right time and earwig eggs are exposed, actual hatching can be observed.
Do earwigs have wings?
Most of the over 1,500 species of earwigs have wings. Earwigs belong to the order, Dermaptera, which actually means "leather" or "skin wings." But not all species of earwigs with wings can fly. When flying earwigs do fly, it is not very far nor are they very gracefully. They prefer to stay in the moist soil.
Why are earwigs in my home?
Earwigs are sometimes brought indoors accidentally, like when an earwig-infested box that was stored in a shed is brought inside; or they sometimes come in on their own through gaps in your foundation because of inhospitable weather conditions, such as drought, oversaturation, and cold.
How can I keep earwigs out of my home?
Since most earwigs prefer moist, protected areas and rarely stay where it is dry, it is imperative to keep your home as dry as possible if you want to keep earwigs out. Making a barrier of crushed rock around your home, having proper ventilation in crawl spaces, and using fans and dehumidifiers in humid areas of your home will go a long way in making earwigs feel unwelcome.
If you want to know about wigs people wear on their ears, we can't help you there. But when it comes to the little pests known as the earwig, we know everything there is to know. If you're dealing with earwigs and you'd like some guidance removing them and pest proofing your home, we'd be happy to help, just give us a call.