How Do I Know If I Have Earwigs?
Mostly active at night, you may spot an earwig if you go into a dark bathroom and flick on the light. Outside, they typically hide in cracks, under rocks, inside logs, under leaves, or inside flowerbeds. You may also find them on porches and patios on summer evenings, as they are attracted to light. Even if you've never seen an earwig in your home, take note that they are very good at avoiding detection--sometimes for months. The best way to know for sure if you have earwigs or not is to get a professional pest control company to come in and do a detailed inspection.
Earwigs are elongated, flattened insects approximately ¼” to 1” long. The color of earwigs can range from light red-brown to black. Earwigs have pincer-like appendages on the end of the abdomen. The female earwig’s pincers are straight-sided, whereas male earwig’s pincers are strongly curved and larger. Earwigs are not harmful. However, if handled, they will defend themselves by spraying foul-smelling fluid and/or by pinching using their pincers.
Earwigs are either winged or wingless. If wings are present, the front wings (tegmina) are leathery, hard, short and veinless, and meet in the straight line down the back. Earwigs’ hind wings are membranous, rounded and folded under the front wings.
Earwig nymphs resemble adults, but they are white to olive-green in color and lack wings.
ARE EARWIGS DANGEROUS?
Although earwigs don't generally try to bite humans, even if they did, they could not break the skin. They can, however, give a pinch with their hind pincers. It is, however, unlikely you will scare an earwig enough for one to try and pinch you; but even if they did, the pinch would not be serious. So, earwigs are not dangerous to humans in this way.
CAN MY HOUSE BE DAMAGED BY EARWIGS?
Although these little creatures look similar to certain wood-chewing bugs, they do not eat wood or burrow into it in any way. They do, however, like to hide underneath moist wood or in moist soil in the shade, which can give the illusion that they are wood destroying organisms, but they are not. Earwigs are insects that eat plants and other insects, not wood.
WHY ARE EARWIGS IN MY HOUSE?
If you have a lot of moisture in your home, you are more likely to have an infestation of earwigs, since they thrive in moist environments. Also, if your home has gaps or cracks in the foundation or walls, this will provide entry points for these insects. Ripped screens and damaged door sweeps will also let these bugs into your home.
WHAT DO EARWIGS EAT AND DRINK?
Earwigs prefer decaying organic matter like rotting vegetation or composting leaves, but they can feed on a wide variety of vegetation and put holes in ornamental plants. There are several species of earwig that will prey upon other insects, but these are less common than their vegetarian cousins. The primary liquid these insects drink is water. If you have leaky pipes or fixtures in or around your home, you could be attracting earwigs.
HOW OFTEN DO EARWIGS REPRODUCE?
A female earwig can lay 3 to 50 eggs which take about 7 days to hatch. When larvae emerge, they go through 4 to 6 molting sessions before they become adult insects. The whole process takes about 30 days.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EARWIGS?
Earwigs are considered moisture pests. If you have them in your basement or crawling around somewhere else in your home, especially if you're seeing them in large numbers, they are a sign that your home has water damage. This is definitely something you need to have checked out and repaired. If you're only seeing a few earwigs, those earwigs are letting you know that your home has entry points. It is important to have those entry points sealed by a pest professional and to have a limited and focused application of control product applied to vulnerable areas. While earwigs aren't a threat, other pests that "can" be a threat could come in through the entry points those earwigs found.
Interesting facts about earwigs
All earwigs have wings, but some species of earwig can't fly. The species that do fly are not very good at it, and they only fly short distances.
Earwigs make up the insect order Dermaptera, which means leather or skin wings.
Earwigs use their pincers for defense and when mating.
Earwigs secrete pheromones that help them to navigate an area and find each other. These pheromones can also be used to repel potential predators.
Earwigs are nocturnal creatures (active at night).
Many earwigs eat mold. But don't expect them to solve a mold problem in your home.
The natural predators of earwigs include birds, lizards, frogs, centipedes, and spiders.