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Earwigs are a pest that often come inside homes as an occasional invader.
There are a variety of myths surrounding earwigs that give them a more fearsome reputation than they deserve. The strangest of which being the belief that earwigs enter people’s ears during the night and lay eggs in their brains. Naturally this is untrue, and the truth is earwigs represent no threat to humans and spread no diseases or bacteria that can be harmful. While they are harmless, they can still be a nuisance to homeowners and gardeners alike.
Earwigs are members of order Dermaptera, which has over 2000 species around the world.
There are a couple dozen distinct species of earwigs that are active in the United States, a variety of which are native here in Florida. While their appearance varies significantly depending on species, they are usually small, with flat bodies that can allow them to slip into small crevices. Earwigs are usually black, brown, or red in coloration, and can be recognized by the large pincer-like tail located on their abdomen. While this tail may give them a fearsome appearance, it is in fact harmless, and is used defensively to mislead would be predators.
Due to their unusual appearance and prevalence across the world, there are a variety of myths and legends associated with earwigs. They are present in Japanese folklore, as well as the works of European poets such as Thomas Hood. Despite their popularity in folklore, they are quite harmless.
Earwigs typically prefer to live in moist, cool areas with a degree of seclusion. For this reason, they will often be found beneath logs, rock piles, and various types of ground cover such as mulch or pine straw. Earwigs are omnivorous scavengers with a diverse diet, but they prefer to feed on plant matter when possible. Their taste for plant matter can cause them to be a pest for gardeners due to their tendency to eat immature sprouts. They are nocturnal, and are often attracted to lights on porches, which can lead them into homes.
When a population around a home becomes too large, earwigs will sometimes move into homes seeking food. While they do not live in homes permanently, their rapid reproductive rate can allow them to establish a large, transient population. A female earwig can lay up to 50 eggs per day, and newly hatched nymphs grow into adulthood relatively quickly. Earwigs can be active in any part of the home, but prefer areas that are high in moisture such as bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and crawlspaces.
Homeowners will often spot earwigs when they unintentionally expose their hiding spaces. In such cases, earwigs will often quickly scatter, which can be a frightening surprise for the unsuspecting homeowner. There are a variety of treatment methods that can help eliminate an earwig population. Typically, the most effective approach is a multi-step treatment plan involving exclusion techniques such as sealing any gaps or cracks in the exterior of the home as well as applying treatment to the outside. This treatment is typically focused on identified nesting areas such as exterior mulch or areas with significant ground cover. While it is possible to apply treatment to the interior, this is often unnecessary because the earwigs are unable to survive indoors for long periods of time as it is.
If you are concerned about earwigs or any other pests in your home. It is often best to call in a licensed pest control company to inspect your property and make recommendations if treatment is necessary. At Arrow Pest Service, we have decades of experience treating for pests of all kinds. Rather than simply applying the same, basic treatment plans for every job, we treat each home as a unique situation. We use information gathered through our inspections as well as advisement from our in-house pest experts to formulate a safe, targeted treatment plan to deal with your pest problems!
So if you need help with any pest, or simply have a question, call us today at 850-874-1900!
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