What are they, and where did they come from?

Earwigs have been a cosmopolitan pest for many years in the United States. There are over ten species in America, but four are most common and likely to invade homes. Some of these have wings, some have stripes on their abdomens, some are dark brown, but all have pinchers. Earwigs are both plant and insect eaters. In fact, they will eat just about anything. Plant damage can be extreme. Although it is most common to find small irregular holes, earwigs will readily eat all of the “meat” of a leaf leaving only a skeleton frame behind. Earwigs also like insects. Though they may feed as predatory insects, earwigs will readily eat dead insects, algae and vegetation. Since they eat so many different food items, earwigs may find a home and food just about anywhere. Although some species can fly, most find their way into homes by walking up the side of untreated homes. Earwigs are active year round. Although they may find shelter under rocks and other ground cover during winter months, only freezing temperatures and ice seem to stop them from daily foraging and activity. If you are seeing them in living areas of the home during cold winter months, it is because they have established themselves somewhere in the home.Earwigs like it moist and prefer dark areas. Basements and crawl spaces provide great nest locations. Since people store boxes and other items in these environments, earwigs find their way into homes by hitching a ride.

Keep the bugs away!

  • Cans & Buckets – Discard them, store them inside, or turn them upside down.
  • Old Tires – Store in a basement or shed where they won’t collect water.
  • Barrels & Garbage Cans – Drain them and store tightly covered or upside down.
  • Roof Gutters – Clean out leaves and debris that trap and hold water.
  • Canoes & Boats – Cover with a tight-fitting tarp or turn upside down.
  • Ornamental Ponds – Store with small fish that will eat mosquitoes.
  • Puddles & Swampy Areas – Grade to drain off water or fill with dirt.
  • Leaky Faucets & Hoses – Repair leaky faucets and drain areas beneath.
  • Tarps or Plastic Sheets – Make sure covers for boats, swimming pools, compost piles, etc… are pulled tight and sloped so that rainwater runs off.
  • Swimming Pools – Mosquitoes will not survive in a properly chlorinated pool or spa.