There are a number of earwig species distributed across the globe, but the most common earwig found in New England is the spine-tailed earwig. While legend has it the earwig crawls into human ears at night to lay eggs, this is not true. The earwig actually poses no harm to humans, despite how intimidating it’s distinctive pincers on its rear look. These pincers are used in self-defense against predators, and to help hunt prey insects.
Earwigs are non-social pests, so they don’t swarm or infest buildings in large numbers. They are purported to be able to cause damage to crops and plantings, so those with orchards, planted fields, etc, should keep watch for earwigs; and the home or business owner should not worry about earwigs as a serious nuisance.
Despite being an innocuous insect, they can be unsettling in a home or office. If they are noticed on an ongoing basis, a few steps can be taken to clear them out.
- Brown coloring
- Pincers on rear (abdomen)
- nocturnal (active at night)
Earwig Control & Prevention
Earwigs are nocturnal and prefer to nest in dark, moist environments by day. Basements, garages, and other damp areas are likely nesting areas for earwigs inside the home. Removing sources of moisture (using dehumidifiers, fixing leaks, etc) and cleaning out cluttered and dirty areas in your house will go a long way towards preventing earwigs.
To prevent earwigs from moving outside to inside, make sure your home is secure. Gaps, cracks, and crevices can exist in foundations, areas where cables/pipes enter the home, around windows / doors, etc. If you can seal these points of entry, earwigs and other insects will have that much of a harder time getting inside and infesting.
Earwigs feed on both plant and animal matter, so make sure to remove detritus in and outside the house. A major food source for earwigs is other insects, so preventing other insects will, in turn, help prevent earwigs.
For complete protection, using a light application of insect repellent around the perimeter of the house will discourage earwig infestations. Always be careful when applying pest- or insecticides, and contact a pest management professional with any questions.
Earwig Control Plans
Bain Pest Control Service offers treatment plans, inspections, and insecticide applications to help prevent and eliminate earwigs and other problem pests. We recommend using a seasonal pest management plan–such as our Home Protection Plan–to safeguard against earwigs (and the pests they both feed on and might infest your building) year round.