Contrary to the myths surrounding earwigs, these creatures do not crawl into human ears, burrow into brains, and lay eggs. In fact, other than possibly giving a tiny pinch, they are not dangerous to humans at all. But they can be disturbing to have inside your Providence home and they can be indicative of moisture issues.
Earwigs, often referred to as "pincher bugs" are generally outdoor pests that live in moist dark areas, such as underneath mulch, under logs or rocks, or beneath other objects where there is moisture present. They have long narrow bodies that are dark brown to reddish brown in color, can grow up to about ⅝ of an inch long, and may or may not have wings. The most notable feature of an earwig is the pair of pincher-like appendages found at the tip of its abdomen. These are called "cerci."
Unlike other pests that leave signs of their presence, such as mice that deposit droppings in the backs of silverware drawers, earwigs do not leave signs. The only way to know you have an infestation is if you see the insects themselves. However, since these pests are nocturnal, you may have a relatively large infestation and never know it. Typical places earwigs hide inside homes include under rugs, under or in potted plants, and inside stacks of newspapers.
When Do Earwigs Become Active?
Though earwigs tend to disappear during the colder months, they reappear when all those other insects reappear, in springtime! What happens is this: in the fall, before the weather turns really cold, earwigs burrow into the ground and lay eggs. Then, when the weather warms up again, voila! A multitude of baby earwigs hatch and make their way up out of the ground.
What Attracts Earwigs To Properties?
If you are noticing earwigs on your property or, worse, inside your home, it is important to understand the items and conditions that are attracting them.
- Earwigs are moisture insects. Like many other insects, earwigs are attracted to moisture. They love moist or rotting wood. If you have a broken or obstructed gutter, a leaky spigot, or some other condition that is allowing moisture to build up on or around your home, this may be what is drawing earwigs to your home.
- Earwigs are drawn to plants. If you have a vegetable garden, a flower garden, or other vegetation close to your home, earwigs may be coming in close to your foundation to gain access to these plants.
- Earwigs are often found near or under wet/decaying wooden materials. If you have construction materials, a woodpile, or other wet wood close to your home, earwigs will love you for it.
- Earwigs will camp out under any item that keeps the ground wet underneath. Examples of items earwigs like to hide under include tarps, rocks, large toys, railroad ties used to border gardens, or any other object left on the ground, especially if there is vegetation close by.
Why Do Earwigs Get Inside Houses?
If conditions outside become uncomfortable for earwigs, they may hide in cracks and crevices in your foundation or outer walls and accidentally find themselves inside your basement or wall voids and, subsequently, inside living spaces. They will be drawn to places of warmth and moisture such as bathrooms or laundry rooms.
Weather conditions that may drive them into your home are temperatures that are too hot or too cold and when it is too dry or too wet outside. If there is a period of heavy rain and the water table rises, you may find yourself dealing with a large infestation if earwigs have found a way in.
Some steps That May Help Keep Earwigs Out
- Remove piles of leaves, sticks, fallen trees, and other debris. These are ideal hiding places for earwigs.
- Remove other objects that can trap moisture underneath such as tarps, large rocks, etc.
- Reduce areas of moisture around your property by making sure your gutters are working properly and are not clogged.
- Repair any leaks in hoses or spigots outside to reduce moisture buildup around the perimeter of your home.
- Inspect the outside of your foundation and walls and repair any gaps, cracks or holes you find.
- Reduce humidity levels inside your home by repairing leaks and by utilizing fans and dehumidifiers in humid areas.
One Step To Keep All Sorts Of Pests Out
If you would like to keep earwigs, and a whole host of other nuisance or dangerous pests out of your home, reach out to Big Blue Bug Solutions to learn about our year-round pest control plans. Even though earwigs don't actually burrow into brains and lay eggs, they are still no fun to have inside your home. Give Big Blue a call today.