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Earwigs Crawling into Your Ear & Other Myths Portland Residents Worry About

an earwig infestation in a portland maine yard

With cold weather in full swing, there’s no doubt that you noticed insects taking residence in your home. Some insects look terrifying, and the earwig is no exception. This ferocious foe will worry you when you see its huge pincers.  Ease your worries by learning about this creature and how to prevent it from taking over your home.

Identifying an Earwig in Your Home or Yard

Earwigs are small, brownish-red or black bugs that look like crickets. The main differences are longer bodies, smaller back legs, and foreboding pincers on the posterior. They scurry around quickly when disturbed, which only makes them look more terrifying.

 Earwigs are moisture pests. They tend to hide in moist, damp areas such as in leaf piles, rotting wood, debris, or damp landscapes. Indoors, they take refuge near leaky pipes or in damp basements. Though they rarely come indoors, they may do so if inclement weather occurs or if they are brought inside accidentally.

 Earwigs feed on decaying plant matter, so mulch and compost piles provide a fertile feeding ground. They are omnivorous, so they also eat smaller insects, such as aphids.

If they’re inside your home, you may find them in your trash, consuming thrown-out or rotten vegetables.

  1. Myth: Earwigs burrow into humans’ brains via the ear canal and lay eggs, causing insanity. Truth: Earwigs can not burrow into a person’s brain. This myth dates to the Middle Ages, which is how earwigs got their name. Many believed this myth because our brain is a moist, damp space. While it’s possible for an earwig to get inside a person’s ear, this threat exists for other insects as well, but rarely does this happen.
  2. Myth: Earwigs can harm humans by using their large pincers to bite. Truth: Earwigs only use their pincers for defense or feeding. The only time an earwig might bite is if it is picked up. The bites can be painful, but they aren’t dangerous. Earwigs have no venom and they don’t sting. They may emit a foul-smelling odor when stepped on or squished, but the odor is harmless.
  3. Myth: Earwigs can infest my home. Truth: Earwigs typically stay in outdoor areas, indoor infestations are uncommon. If they do get in, they take refuge in damp, moist areas, like basements or areas with leaky pipes. To prevent infestations, patch up any cracks and reduce moisture in your home. Address leaky appliances and install fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture. When outdoors, keep your yard clear of leaf piles, debris, old toys, rotting wood, and overgrown weeds to remove potential hiding spots. Trim grass regularly and keep mulch two feet away from outer walls. If you must install mulch closer than two feet, contact Big Blue Bug Solutions for help with putting down a protective chemical barrier between your foundation and the mulch.

Earwigs lay their eggs in the top layer of soil, so check potted plants for tiny, white eggs or pale nymphs. Replace the soil if you spot these to prevent more earwigs from hatching and invading your home.

Get Rid of Your Earwig Infestation

If earwigs are disrupting your routine and invading your South Portland home, contact the professionals at Big Blue Bug Solutions. Since 1935, we’ve helped New England residents in four states handle pest problems. You’ll receive professional, courteous, and discreet service that will rid your home of any pests, harmful or otherwise.

We guarantee that all your bugs will be eliminated. Reach out today.