Urban legend has it that earwigs are so named because they crawl into sleeping people’s ears and eat their brains, causing madness and/or death. Rest assured that there is no truth to this well-known myth. Etymologists are unsure the origin of the name earwig but sleep well knowing that they are not lying in wait to crawl into your ears. What then are earwigs and what should you do if you find that your home or garden has many of them?
Identification – Earwigs are insects, meaning that they have six legs and three body segments. Earwigs can be identified by their unique look. They are about 5/8 inch long, with a flat, reddish-brown body and very short wings. They have medium length antennae and mouths that have parts that allow for chewing. They are distinctive because they possess a pair of strong pinchers (cerci) on the tip of their abdomen.
Earwig Behavior – Earwigs are mostly nocturnal and often hide in small, moist crevices during the day, and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. Damage to foliage, flowers, and various crops is commonly blamed on earwigs. Earwig behavior can be bothersome in a few ways. First they can enter homes and other buildings during summer, sometimes in large numbers. This can be disturbing and somewhat of a shock if there are a large number of these little pests. Secondly, earwigs can give off a disagreeable odor as they can secrete a foul-smelling liquid from their abdomen. Lastly, earwigs can also cause problems in gardens as they feed on flowers, like marigolds, dahlias, butterfly bush, and hostas, chewing irregular holes in leaves and flower blossoms.
Earwig Management – Both insecticides and non-chemical solutions are available for treating an earwig infestation. Preventative measures can keep earwigs out of your home and garden. Seal up openings in the home using caulk to fill in gaps around the house. In the garden clean up debris that earwigs can hide under, such as leaves, plant debris, bricks, piles of lumber, and similar things. Pest-End can eliminate this pesky and unsightly insect using appropriate chemical insecticides. Consult Pest-End to solve your earwig problem.