The Summer Earwig Problem

earwig controlThe coming of summer invites the return of warm weather, cookouts, and waterfront fun. The new season can also remind you of bugs that had been in hiding since winter. If you have found yourself wary of searching the garage for BBQ tongs in fear of earwigs, then you might be interested in some tips on how to avoid them. Earwigs enter your home because it has things that are valuable to them – shelter, food and climate. Knowing what makes them tick, and taking prompt action, can help you avoid letting these pests control your summer.

What are Earwigs?

Earwigs are so named because myths once warned of their ability to crawl into peoples’ ears and burrow into their head.  Nothing could be further from the truth, as these bugs are harmless to humans.  They range from ¼ inch to 1 ¼ inches, and can be recognized by their flat, brown-red, striped bodies. They also have small wings, but do not get around by flying.

The most prominent feature of earwigs is their pincers, which have earned them the nickname “pincher bugs”. While they can use these forceps at the back of their abdomens to pinch humans, they would only do so out of self-defense. Humans have none of the nutritional value earwigs are looking for, so there is no need to worry about one coming to make a meal out of you.  

Earwigs’ diets include such things that humans like to keep in the houses, garages, and yards. They are nocturnal feeders that consume the cellulose of decaying organic matter such as cardboard, mulch, leaves, and rotting wood. They will also go after greasy food items left in the kitchen and may also eat other smaller insects.

These bugs prefer cool, dark, and damp environments. They usually prefer to reside in the top soil of gardens and yards, but may be driven indoors when arid conditions dry up their usual hang-outs.

Why the Summer?

Late spring and early summer are when earwigs are most noticed, due to a timely convergence of favorable climate and reproductive cycle.

These bugs have a reproductive culture that is unusual for most insects, marked by monogamy and maternity.  Earwigs mate in the fall, but males and females will stick with their mates throughout the winter in an underground nest. When spring rolls around, females will lay 30 to 50 eggs. Mothers will then care for young nymphs until they mature around May and June. How endearing.

How Can You Avoid Earwigs?

Now that you know where earwigs like to hang out and what they like to eat, you may have a few ideas of what you can do to avoid them entering your home. If you are having earwig trouble that you cannot seem to resolve, calling a professional pest control service is the best idea. They can confirm the kind of bug you are dealing with and offer personalized advice for your home. If you need to take action now, here are a few tips for controlling earwig activity.

  • Avoid using cardboard storage boxes in your garage or other places in your house that may be cool and damp.
  • Keep up with your rain gutters. Clear them of decaying leaves and ensure downspouts are directing water away from your home.
  • Do not leave organic debris, piles of leaves or yard clippings close to the foundation of your home.
  • Inspect your home for points of entry.  Cracks in the foundation, breaks in seals, or openings under doorways could all allow earwigs to enter.

Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different types of pests and use that knowledge when developing a pest control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.

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