Earwigs - What are they? - Adult Earwigs look like flattened insects with antenas on their head and pincers at the rear (harmless to humans). Their size ranges but can be up to 4 cm (1 and 1/4 inches) in length. Their colour is light red-brown to black.
They are active at night and some species are attracted to lights in large numbers. During the day they usually find shelter beneath stones, boards, sidewalks, or debris. Earwigs are rapid runners and migrate short distances in this manner.
Earwigs are easily recognizable by their pincers (forceps harmless to humans) at the ends of their abdomen. They are dark reddish-brown, with light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long.
In a season, females reproduce up to 20-60 eggs laid in burrows (called chambers), 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil.
Most species have one generation a year, over-wintering in the soil. Both adults and the young require moisture to live.
Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night. They are scavengers, eating primarily dead insects and decomposing plant materials. Some earwig species are attracted to lights.
During the day, earwigs will seek shelter under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. Earwigs prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks, and stones.
Earwigs eat live plants and can do damage to field crops.
Earwigs are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation.
Their populations build up around foundations. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.
Earwigs live in habitats that also harbor centipedes, sow bugs (roly-poly), and millipedes.
Removing earwig habitats is very important to the control of all insects, including earwigs.
As they are attracted to lights, it might help to reduce some of the lighting outside at night.
Most insecticide treatment should be done outside with application around the building foundation, flower beds, mulch areas and turf within a couple of yards of the building, as well as in the crawl space areas of the home.
Call Nimby Pest Management for professional Earwig Control.
Chemical control consists of applications made outdoors, since the problem originates outdoors. The effectiveness of chemical treatment may be enhanced by removing debris sheltering earwigs. If earwigs have gained entrance to a building, indoor treatment may be desirable, although those indoors will die eventually without treatment. Nimby Pest Management will utilize Chemical Solutions where necessary when controlling Earwig infestations.
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