Technical Papers

Earwigs: It's All in Your Head

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 by Bill Cowley

Earwigs

Earwigs are slender, nocturnal insects that get their name from the old European myth that they crawl into people’s ears and eat or lay eggs in their brains while they are sleeping  a rather terrifying thought! Fortunately, this is just an old folks tale and NOT at all true.

Earwigs are approximately 1/4 - 1 inch long, are dark brown to reddish-brown in color, have flattened bodies (that allowed them to fit in tight crevices), and a threadlike antenna that is almost half of their body length. The most notable feature about earwigs is their pincer-like appendage, which they use to defend against predators and catch their prey. The pincer on female earwigs is straight while the males are curved. 

Earwigs are strictly a nuisance pest and pose no harm to humans. They'll spend their days hiding in small, dark, and moist areas, such as leaf and mulch piles or in tree holes. 

How do Earwigs Enter Homes?

Once the weather outside becomes too hot for them, earwigs begin to invade homes through tiny exterior cracks in a foundation. They can also accidentally be brought into a home on the bottom of potted plants, newspapers, or delivered packages. Once they're inside, they usually reside in damp, dark areas like crawl spaces, basements, or closets.

In Order to Prevent an Earwig Infestation:

1. Always inspect packages, groceries, mail, or newspapers before bringing them inside your home.

2. Seal up any tiny cracks and crevices around your home with a premium waterproof adhesive.

3. Keep mulch bed at least six inches away from the siding of your foundation.

4. Remove and properly dispose of all lawn clippings and leaf debris.

5. Install a door sweep on all exterior doors and install a commercial-grade dehumidifier in your basement or crawl space.