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Earwig Control

Every critter has their own story.

The secret of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a proven, cost-effective strategy to combat pest problems without unnecessary pesticide use, is to understand the life-cycle of the pest that is pestering.

What do earwigs look like and why are they concerning?

Earwigs are small, reddish brown elongated bugs that have a pair of appendages on the end of their body resembling pincers. They have two sets of wings, the front set being short and leathery in texture and the hind set being fan shaped and membranous.

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The hind wings are kept folded underneath the front set of wings. An earwig’s size will vary depending on their species and age. Adults usually range from 5 mm to 25 mm in length. Some species of earwig produce and release a foul-scented liquid for defense. Earwigs may give a slight pinch if handled directly but are otherwise harmless. They are a nuisance pest meaning, they pose no threat to humans or pets and cause no structural damage. The myth that they will climb into people’s ears to lay eggs is completely untrue.

Where do earwigs live?

Earwigs prefer to live in cool, dark, damp areas. Outside, they can be found in gardens, debris piles, mulch, logs, and around foundations.

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Inside, they tend to gather in basements, bathrooms, closets, and laundry rooms. They like to hide in moist places that are generally undisturbed like cracks and crevices that are near moisture, under carpets and rugs that get wet, in cabinets that are situated under sinks, and behind or around kitchen and bathroom baseboards.

Why do I have an earwig problem?

If the weather outside becomes too hot and dry, earwigs may enter buildings in search of somewhere cool, dark, and moist. They are attracted to lights, and they can be drawn to buildings by outdoor or indoor lighting fixtures.

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Once they are drawn in, earwigs’ flat bodies allow them to enter buildings through tiny cracks in the foundation and walls, or gaps around doors and windows. They can also be brought into buildings on things like newspapers, packages, and potted plants.

When are earwigs active?

Earwigs mate and build their winter nests in the fall. Female earwigs wait to lay their eggs until early spring and the eggs hatch shortly after.

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The new generation will emerge as adults in late May and early June. They are active through the summer and into the fall, when they begin the cycle over again. Earwigs are active during the night hours.

What’s the best way to prevent an earwig infestation?

The most important step in avoiding an earwig infestation is minimizing moisture levels as much as possible. Some things that can be done to achieve this are ensuring effective drainage and gutter systems and trimming trees and shrubs that cause shady, damp areas.

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A 6 to 12 inch wide dry zone should be created around the foundation that is devoid of mulch, dead leaves, and other moist, organic material. Decorative stones, firewood piles, landscaping timber, and logs should be moved away from the foundation, and any organic debris piles should be removed from the property. Dehumidifiers should be implemented in damp areas like basements and crawlspaces. Set irrigation systems to water in the morning so the landscape can dry throughout the day. Any possible entry points, such as cracks in the foundation or gaps around windows and doors, should be fixed or sealed. Consider changing the lightbulbs in outdoor light fixtures to yellow bulbs, as yellow light is less attractive to insects than white light. When home and business owners try to exterminate an Earwig infestation on their own, the earwigs usually return. Seeking professional help is not uncommon for this problem. To get rid of earwigs on your property call EXCEL today and have one of our experts visit you.

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