For this reason they are mostly active at night or in permanently sheltered and humid conditions such as under mulch and in compost and rotting timber.

Unfortunately, the thick mulching and heavy compost use associated with good organic gardening provides Wood Lice with perfect conditions! And they can also become a problem in greenhouses due to the favorably permanently moist conditions.

The main breeding season begins in spring.

Females carry their young about, which take around 3 months to mature and can live for several years.

There are many species of Wood Lice.

Some are specialized compost bugs that only eat fungus and cause no problems for the organic grower, being an integral part of your composting system.

Others will also attack soft plant tissue, such as gnawing through the stems of young seedlings, which is the chief way they antagonize organic gardeners.

You can tell them apart by checking their ability to roll into a ball – compost Wood Lice can’t whereas the seedling attacking types can.
Their mouthparts can only cope with soft plant tissue such as fungus or young growth.

If Wood Lice are seen feasting on older plants they are often there simply cleaning up existing fungal disease or have been allowed access to the soft parts of the plant by other damage such as insects or wind trauma.

HOME MADE ORGANIC PEST CONTROL OF WOOD LICE

A combined approach is needed to minimize the damage wrought by problem infestations of garden pest Wood Lice.

Consider some of these vegan pest control methods:

Cultural Methods for Garden Pest Wood Lice

  • Pay attention to your composting so it achieves a good heat. This will tend to drive out Wood Lice from using it as a hotel and breeding site. Also allow the compost to thoroughly decompose before using it in the garden.
  • Before planting out seedlings, wait until they are well grown and sun harden them to toughen the stems.
  • When planting out seedlings, clear a space around them of mulch of at least 10 cm (4 inches). Only water early in the morning.
  • Drip irrigate your plants to avoid creating ideal conditions for Wood Lice over large areas. Avoid over-watering, and allow the ground to dry between waterings.
  • Discourage fungal problems by promoting good air flow around your plants. Grow sprawling vines (e.g. pumpkin) on trellises or lift them off the ground with bricks.

Trapping Garden Pest Wood Lice
You can make an irresistible lure for Wood Lice using pieces of cut potato, orange shells, grated cheese or strawberries sandwiched between two thick layers of damp newspaper.

Set the lure out late in the day in a moist spot in your garden and then collect up the trapped Slaters in the early morning by wrapping up the whole shebang and unfurling it to your chickens for breakfast – they’ll love them!

Garden Hygiene Approach for Garden Pest Wood Lice

Hot breeding sites for Wood Lice include stacks of rotting timber, rocks, bricks, compost, weeds, prunings, newspaper, or mulch… just the sorts of things that an organic gardener or farmer tends to have in abundance around the place!

Tidy up your garden in late winter to remove any unnecessary breeding sites. The good news is that Woodlice don’t travel far from their breeding sites, so keeping such material stored in a spot away from your young seedling beds is a worthwhile strategy.

Encourage Natural Predators of Garden Pest Wood Lice

There are a lot of critters that love to dine on our little land crustaceans, including toads, lizards, some hunting spiders and beetles, centipedes, wasps, shrews and birds. The same critters will also snaffle up other problem pests in the garden, so create habitat and friendly conditions for them.

Don’t use harmful sprays. Put in a few nectar producing shrubs and flowers around the garden, as well as a small pond with rocks and logs as hiding spots around it.

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Control Garden Pest Wood Lice

Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder made up of tiny fossil algae. Sprinkled around problem areas, the powder works by getting caught in the body parts of the Wood Lice where it causes abrasion and wounding, leading to death.

Make a Barrier to Exclude Them

In the greenhouse you can stop Woodlice from getting up onto your seedling benches by smearing a thick band of grease around the legs. The same method can be used around the base of individual pots to thwart their climbing efforts.

Contents

How to get rid of Wood Lice

Woodlice, also commonly known as wood bugs, armadillo bugs, potato bugs, pill bugs, roly-poly, slaters, and roll up bugs, are members of the suborder Oniscidea from the order Isopoda. Although they are normally considered to be beneficial in gardens, seeing as they play a role in controlling certain pests, as well as in producing compost and overturning the soil, breaking down dead vegetation and organic matter, they can also come to be considered pests themselves; they have been found to feed on cultivated plants, such as ripening strawberries and tender seedlings.
Indoors, they may cause superficial damage to wallpapers, decorations and possibly furniture. Despite this, the idea that woodlice will chomp on all the woodwork and wooden furniture that you have in the house is a common misconception; woodlice only eat what has already started to decay, so if you have a serious infestation, you can take that as a sure sign that your home has too much damp and decaying wood in it.

Signs of infestation

They may cause superficial damage to decorations and furnishing in your home. Most woodlice enter homes during early winter or spring, in search of protection from the cold, but they mostly do so accidentally; they prefer damp habitats and most often die of dehydration in warm indoor environments. That being said, however, they can still live in humid places around your house, such as bathrooms, roof voids, wall crevices, skirting boards, underneath kitchen units, underneath sinks, etc. These are the places where you need to search in order to establish if you are dealing with an infestation of not. Woodlice feed on mould growth, leaves and rotting wood, so you can check your yard as well, to see if there are any signs of their presence outside.
Don’t be too hasty in getting rid of woodlice from your garden, as they have a valuable role in regrowth and decomposition. Your garden will benefit from their presence, as they play a vital role in soil ecosystems, whether their bodies provide a calcium source, or are important when it comes to their job as decomposers in the nitrogen cycle.

Natural methods of control

One of the easiest and most natural ways you can get rid of woodlice is by simply brushing them into a dust pan, gathering them up, and disposing of them outside. You can also just as easily hoover them up, before emptying the contents of your vacuum bag outside. Try not to crush them on surfaces such as carpets, seeing as they are known to leave behind stains.
Even though you will manage to physically remove the majority of them, you will need to make sure that your house does not provide them with the damp environment they need, as if this is the case, the infestation will return with a new generation. You will need to maintain dry environmental conditions in and outside your house as well. In order to do this, you can use salt barriers poured across external doorways, which will cause them to dehydrate as they crawl across these barriers.
As a natural way of eliminating woodlice, you can also use Diatomaceous Earth and boric acid for the same result, as both are natural based products which have the effect of dehydrating the insects once they come in contact with the substance. Sprinkling them near windows, doors or in cracks and crevices through which the woodlice could enter the household, will create a protective barrier which will keep your house safe.
You can also create traps out of pieces of cut potato, orange peels, strawberries and grated cheese, wrapped up in a damp newspaper. Using these foods as bait, placed in a damp area, will attract woodlice to it and you will be able to discard of them in a larger number.

Outdoors, you have the option of using natural predators, some of which pray exclusively on woodlice, such as the spider Dysdera crocata. When it comes to protecting the outdoor area, your main goal is to make sure you landscape your yard and garden in such a way that woodlice no longer find it attractive. Although useful in the garden, keeping your yard clear of woodlice is important, as they will not find a way inside the house as easily, if they are away from the perimeter of your house. Making the yard inhospitable for them can be achieved through removing vegetation from around the home, mowing the lawn so that the grass can dry easily from the sun and will not maintain dampness in the soil.

You can also apply insecticides at the base of the house, whether they are chemical ones, or you use the natural desiccants in the form of Diatomaceous Earth and boric acid.

To be sure that any woodlice that reside outside of your house are unable to come in, you need to make sure they are not attracted to a damp environment that you might have inside and next to your house.

  • heat your house more effectively;
  • fix leaking taps;
  • stop water from dripping through poorly fitted worktops, bathtubs, shower cabins, or sinks.

Modifying the outside environment is also a good idea; you can do this by:

  • removing vegetation from around the immediate perimeter of your house;
  • moving flowerpots and flower containers away from doors and windows;
  • keeping garbage bins at a safe distance from the house;
  • removing debris from drains, gutters, and ventilation grilles;
  • covering any gaps in the walls or foundation, paying special attention to the space around doors and windows.

In order to prevent a woodlice infestation outdoors, you should:

  • be careful not to overwater your plants;
  • ensure that there are no water sources that can cause an extremely humid environment, such as ponds, holes in the ground where rainwater might accumulate, etc.;
  • ensure that there is no mulch around your garden and especially around your seedlings;
  • remove any rotting wood or timber, compost, weeds, mulch, as well as any rocks and bricks.

Chemical methods of control

Woodlice can also be easily removed through the use of insecticides, in the form of both sprays and dusts. Sprays are easy to use and they work extremely fast; dusts, on the other hand, are only useful if the woodlice crawl through them, so you have to be careful to set them in the right places. Bear in mind that sprays may be safer to use if you have children or pets that may stumble across dusts, but dusts are advisable if the infestation is in kitchens or near electricity plugs.

Low pressure spray insecticides for Wood Lice control:

Low pressure sprayers can also be used as they are very useful if the woodlice are clustered in hard to reach places. They will rid you of the problem very quickly. The ‘mist’ will infiltrate all the nooks and crannies where woodlice like to live and breed to kill off this pest.

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Spraying concentrated insecticides for Wood Lice control:

Concentrated insecticides are the most common used products in fighting insect infestations. They provide the safety that any insect coming into contact with the treated surfaces dies shortly.

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Sprayers used for Wood Lice control:

The equipment needed for a professional Pest Control Operator depends on the type of pest the treatment is made against, and if the treated surface is indoors or outdoors. Sprayers help in applying products meant to reach difficult places, as well as guaranteeing an economic control of the treatment application.

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Still, you should be careful and also implement preventive measures as well, in order to ensure that they have no way or incentive to enter your home again. You can apply the few details mentioned above, but for further methods of preventing the development of an infestation, you can check our related article, where you will find more details about ways in which you can ‘Prevent infestation with Wood Lice’.

Removing Earwigs From The Garden

Earwigs are one of those garden pests that look very frightening, but, in fact, earwigs are rather harmless. Admittedly they look rather scary. An earwig looks like a bug that has gotten run over by a steamroller. They have long, flat bodies and their legs stick out to the sides, which gives them a slithery motion when they move. They also have a set of pinchers on the ends of their abdomens.

Because of the earwig’s frightful appearance, there is a superstition that earwigs will crawl into a person’s ear and bore into the brain. This superstition is absolutely not true. Earwigs are scary looking but they are not harmful to people or animals.

Earwigs in the Garden

But that is not to say that earwigs are not harmful to your garden though. Earwigs will chew on flowers, vegetables and other plants. Earwig damage can be identified by ragged edges or holes found on the leaves and petals of a plant.

Most of the time, a gardener will not actually see the earwigs in their garden. If they do see them, it will only be briefly as they watch an earwig scurry away after being exposed to sunlight somehow. Earwigs are nocturnal insects. They prefer dark areas and during the day, they can be found hiding in dark areas.

Earwigs also need damp areas to survive. They commonly show up in the garden if they can find a moist dark area to survive in such as mulch, woodpiles or compost piles.

Removing Earwigs from the Garden

The normal advice given for eliminating earwigs from the garden is to reduce or eliminate moist, dark conditions from your garden. But frankly, eliminating these conditions from a healthy garden is nearly impossible. A compost pile and mulched beds are part of a well tended garden. Instead, try to remove any non-essential elements that may be providing these conditions so you can at least reduce the number of areas in your garden where earwigs can flourish.

You can also try adding barriers to the edges of your garden. Earwigs cannot travel very far, especially over dry conditions. Adding a small moat of consistently dry material, such as gravel or coarse sand, around garden beds will help to keep earwigs out of the beds.

You can also set up earwig traps. Roll up a section of newspaper and wet it down slightly. Place the damp newspaper roll into the part of the garden that you are having an earwig problem. Leave it there overnight. The earwigs will crawl into the newspaper as it provided the exact conditions that they like.

In the morning, dispose of the roll of newspaper either by burning it, dousing it with boiling water or immersing it in a solution of water and bleach.

You can also use pesticides to eliminate earwigs, but some care should be taken if using this method as pesticide will kill both earwigs and helpful insects, such as ladybugs and butterflies.

Earwigs can be a pest — and not just because of that scary old wives’ tale that they will crawl into your ear and lay eggs (they won’t!).

Earwigs are actually quite contradictory in that they can be both a garden pest and helper at the same time. They’re beneficial in compost piles and as predators because they eat nuisances like aphids, mites, and undesirable nematodes, as well as other insect larvae. Earwigs are actually omnivorous, and primarily feed on decaying organic matter as well as those pest insects.

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However, earwigs also unfortunately eat ornamental and vegetable plants, particularly dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhocks, lettuce, strawberries, potatoes, roses, and seedling beans and beets, as well as the silk of sweet corn. In gardens and greenhouses, they chew irregularly shaped holes in plant leaves and flower petals, tunnel into flower buds, and also consume seedlings.

Earwigs can also wreak havoc outside of the garden because they’re attracted to moist areas around and inside homes. They can become serious pests when they come indoors, and also when outdoor populations get out of control and do major damage on your garden.

Found throughout North America, these glossy, flattened insects are brown to black in color and measure ½ to 1 inch long. You can identify earwigs by their pair of curved pincers or forceps emerging from the tip of the abdomen. But don’t worry — they rarely pinch.

Adult earwigs may or may not have wings, but they rarely fly. Larvae resemble adults. The European earwig (Forficula auricularia) is most problematic in northern areas; the ringlegged earwig (Euborellia annulipes) is predominant in the South.

Get some tips below on where to find earwigs, and how best to control their population size.

Where Earwigs Hide

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Earwigs are nocturnal; they hide in cool, moist places during the day and feed at night. Earwig damage mimics damage from caterpillars and slugs, so be sure you’ve identified the real culprits by checking for feeding earwigs on your plants after dark.

Earwigs are unusual among insects in that the female fusses over her eggs and nymphs, and uses her pincers to protect them. Overwintering adult earwigs lay clusters of round, white eggs in the soil in late winter; larvae, which resemble adult earwigs, hatch in spring. Adults overwinter under garden debris, stones, and boards as well as in soil.

How to Trap Earwigs

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To trap earwigs, you can fill cat food cans (or other similar cans) with ¼ inch of oil (preferably fish oil) and sink them into the ground near plants. Empty them every day.

You can also set out some crumpled, damp newspaper, lengths of old hose, cardboard filled with straw and taped shut at one end, or boxes with small holes cut in the sides and baited with oatmeal. Place these earwig “traps” near plants and dump the contents into a bucket of soapy water in the morning.

Another option is to simply place a light-colored cloth beneath an infested plant and shake or tap the branches. The earwigs should fall onto the cloth and can then be disposed of.

How to Control Earwig Overpopulation

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If you are seeing a lot of earwigs, or have had a problem with them in your garden before, you can simply sprinkle a 2-inch-wide circle of diatomaceous earth around beds or the base of plants where earwigs commonly travel; reapply after it rains.

You can also apply the beneficial nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, which is an alternative to chemical pesticides.

Clean up any garden debris and mulches, especially around the foundations of your home, since moist areas serve as daytime hiding spots for the nocturnal earwigs and can lead to them invading your home. You can spread dry gravel as mulch around your home instead.

Earwigs are also attracted to lights, so eliminate or reduce lighting around the foundation.

How to Call in an Earwig Predator

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The earwig’s only insect predator in North America is the tachinid fly. You can attract and encourage this fly in your garden by planting alyssum, calendula, dill, and fennel.

4 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Earwigs in the Garden

Is your garden overrun with earwigs? Try these four natural remedies to get rid of them quickly.

How to Get Rid of Earwigs

1. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth Powder
Get food-grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle the white powder along the perimeter of the garden or around the base of the infested plants. Diatomaceous earth can kill earwigs by causing tiny cuts on their exoskeleton.

Diatomaceous earth will lose its effectiveness in wet conditions so don’t forget to re-apply after it rains. The food-grade version is also non-toxic to pets, and will work well against other common household pests including roaches and bed bugs.

2. Set a Damp Newspaper Trap
Leave some lightly-rolled damp newspaper around your garden for two or three days. Once the earwigs have moved in, discard the rolled newspaper into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. You can also use corrugated cardboard instead of newspaper.

3. Use a Tuna Can Trap
Embed an empty tuna can next to the earwig-infested plants then fill the tuna can with some vegetable oil. The earwigs will crawl in and drown.

4. Attract Natural Predators
If you want to think long-term then consider making your garden a more attractive home for natural predators like birds and lizards. For example, installing rock piles in your garden can be a good way to attract lizards as it provides cover for them.

Keeping backyard chickens is also a great way to control common household pests like earwigs, ticks, and fleas. You can catch the earwigs by using the damp newspaper trap then hand the newspaper over to the chickens for them to feast.

Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.

What Good Are Earwigs?

By Chris Williams on November 8, 2011.

Q. Okay, I know earwigs don’t actually get in your ears, but what do they do? What’s their purpose in life? And why do they end up in my laundry room?

A. Earwigs actually are beneficial insects, most of the time. They’re part of a large group of creatures that are sanitary engineers; they help clean up the environment by feeding on decaying plant material and live and dead insects. Along with other scavengers like millipedes, pillbugs, and sowbugs, earwigs help to break down dying plant material. They may not be beneficial, though, if you own a greenhouse or are trying to grow vegetable seedlings. In large numbers, earwigs can damage living plants and can be greenhouse pests. Outside, they are found primarily in mulch and decaying leaves, or hidden in cool places under boards, rocks, or logs. Earwigs hide during the day and feed at night.

Earwigs are unusual among insects in that the female exhibits maternal care. When she is ready to lay her eggs, she drives the male out of the underground nest. She cleans and moves her eggs around in the nest so they don’t get moldy and guards them from other earwigs. She also cares for and feeds the newly hatched young in the nest until they are able to fend for themselves.

Earwigs have a pair of formidable-looking pincers at the rear of their abdomen that are used mostly during mating. You can tell a male earwig by forceps that are curved, while on the female the forceps are straight-sided. Earwigs can pinch if provoked but that happens rarely. They don’t bite. Earwigs have very short wings but are not good fliers. To fly, they must glide from a high point.

Although they are not really indoor pests, earwigs do sometimes find their way inside. They can be accidentally carried in on plants, firewood, or newspapers that have been outside. They are attracted to lights and may get inside through doors and windows. They also sometimes migrate indoors during hot, dry periods looking for moisture. Once indoors, they hide in cracks and crevices and scavenge at night for food scraps, live or dead insects, mold, or plants.

Since earwigs need a high level of moisture, they tend to gravitate to areas of the structure that are damp like a crawlspace. That’s why they end up in your laundry room. The good news is that they don’t usually move indoors in large numbers (unless you have a large outdoor population), and those that do make it in don’t survive long inside due to the drier indoor air.

You can keep earwigs out by pest-proofing around doors and windows, drying out damp areas inside, reducing outside lighting, and by having a pest control company apply an outside perimeter treatment around your home. Cleaning up earwig habitat like mulch, leaf debris, and stacked wood or stones around the foundation will help, too.

Earwigs are Both Good and Bad

Posted August 26th, 2016 by Garden & Greenhouse in June 2017, Pest Control Articles

Earwigs are unwelcome guests in almost every garden or home. These ¾” long, reddish brown insects look particularly formidable, with their rear pinchers and quick movements.

What They Do

Earwigs can damage your plants, but they rarely bite people. Their name comes from an old European superstition that these nocturnal insects will crawl into the ears, and then into the brains, of people while they sleep. (Remember the chilling scene from the movie “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan”? Creepy, but pure fiction!) They are native to Europe and were accidentally introduced to the US in the early part of the 20th Century. Since then, the population has spread quickly across the country.

Earwigs overwinter and lay their eggs in the soil. They hide during the day and come out at night to feed on insects and plants. Earwigs will eat aphids, mites, fleas and the eggs of other insects. But for most folks, their bad habits outweigh their good habits. They’ll also feed on a variety of flowering plants and hostas, along with some garden vegetables. They’ll hide under well caps, inside electrical outlets and any other dark place they can crawl into.

How to Control Them

To control earwigs, some experts suggest removing possible hiding places from your yard to create a dry, sunny environment that they will avoid. But if a dry, sunny yard is not your cup of tea, there are chemical and organic methods for controlling the nasty beasties.

Sevin and some other chemical insecticides will kill them. Ask your local garden center what they have available for earwig control, and follow the directions on the package. Insecticidal soaps kill earwigs on contact, and should be sprayed in the evening when they are active.

You can also trap them by placing damp, rolled up newspapers overnight in the areas they frequent. Gather the newspapers in the morning and shake out any earwigs into a bucket of soapy water. If earwigs get inside your house, just vacuum them up. They come inside to find a hiding place, but they do not breed indoors.

Mike McGroarty is a Garden & Greenhouse contributing editor, the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of several books. You can visit his website at Freeplants.com and read his blog at Mikesbackyardnursery.com.

Want more information? Read these articles:

Explaining Natural Pesticides

Hydroponic Systems Can Have Pest Control Problems Too

Natural Pest Control for Greenhouses and Indoor Gardens

Natural Pest Control for the Greenhouse and Garden

Pest Control Using Predatory Insects

Earwigs

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Order Dermaptera

Appearance

What do they look like?
Forceps

Earwigs are odd looking insects which have pincers or forceps protruding from the abdomen. These are somewhat intimidating looking but they are not poisonous, and they do not spread disease.

Size

Depending on the species, adults range in size from 5-25 mm.

Wings

They are slender insects with two pair of wings. Dermaptera means “skin wing” due to the leathery appearance of the wings. The hind wings typically fold under the front wings. Do earwigs fly?

Facts

What is an Earwig?

There are more than twenty species of earwigs in the United States. Some species produce a foul smelling liquid that they use for defense. Earwigs also produce a pheromone (scent). Scientists believe that this pheromone is the reason that earwigs cluster together in large numbers.

There is a superstition that earwigs burrow into the ears of people while they sleep. This is a myth and without any scientific basis. Earwigs frighten many people because of the pincers on the back of their abdomens. Earwigs use these pincers for defense and for sparing with rival earwigs.

Where do they live?

As with any other type of insect with multiple species, biology and habits vary. Most types of earwigs generally prefer wet areas which are cooler and undisturbed. Earwigs can be a serious garden pest if conditions are right. If there is adequate ground cover, wet soil, and food, the earwigs will do well.

Diet

Earwigs typically feed on live sprouts or decaying vegetation and, in rare cases, some species are predators. Read more about what earwigs eat.

Move quickly

Earwigs are relatively fast moving. They run away quickly when the ground litter is moved, uncovering them.

Nocturnal

Earwigs are active at night. During the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch in flowerbeds. Earwigs eat plants and insects.

Attracted to lighting

Earwigs are attracted to lights. They can become a nuisance on porches and patios on summer evenings. In the morning they will be gathered under things like cushions that were left outside overnight.

How Did I Get Earwigs?

Earwigs move into homes to find food or because of a change in weather.They usually wind up indoors while seeking shelter or just happen to wander inside through open doors. Earwigs prefer cool, damp areas and may enter homes during extended dry periods.

How Can I Get Rid of Earwigs?

What Orkin Does

The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage earwigs and similar pests that invade homes. Since every yard or home is unique, the Orkin technician will design a special solution for your situation.

Keeping pests out of your home is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps — Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep earwigs, and other pests, in their place…out of your home.

Earwigs Signs

Homeowners often find them in areas where there is water – kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. Earwigs can also find their way into bedrooms and family rooms. They turn up in almost every part of the house, but infestations are rare.

Reproduction

Females typically lay between 30 and 50 but actual numbers depend on species. After hatching, the nymphs undergo four to five molts until they become adults. Immature earwigs (nymphs) resemble the adults except they do not have wings. Read about the earwigs life cycle.

  • What do earwigs eggs look like?
  • Earwig larvae

Prevention Tips

The most important part of controlling earwigs is eliminating their hiding places. If the earwig harborages are not addressed, insecticide application will probably not control earwigs very well. There are a variety of things that can be done.

Landscaping

  • Clean Up – Move landscape timbers, logs, decorative stones, and firewood piles away from the foundation.
  • Eliminate Moist Soil – Create a zone next to the foundation that is free of mulch, dead leaves, and other organic material. The “dry zone” should be 6” to 12” wide so that earwigs will avoid it.
  • Trim Overhanging Branches – Trim trees and shrubs that cause damp, shady areas near the house.

Around the Home

  • Proper Drainage is Key – Examine gutters and downspouts to make sure they drain away from the foundation. Set irrigation systems so that they water in the morning and allow the landscape to dry during the day.
  • Switch Up Exterior Lighting – Adjust outdoor lights to shine from the yard onto the house – insects will be attracted away from the house. If moving outside light fixtures is not practical, consider changing light bulbs to yellow bulbs since white lights are more attractive to insects.
  • Secure Possible Entry Points – Repair screens on crawl space vents and make sure the vents are not blocked.
  • Dry Out Moisture-Prone Areas – A dehumidifier might help in a damp basement.

Call for Professional Assistance With Earwig Removal

The best way to prevent earwigs is to utilize Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. IPM is a holistic approach to pest control. The basic steps of IPM include Inspection, Identification and Control.

Earwigs can infest many different areas in a home. Because of that, it may be necessary to use several insecticide products to control them effectively. A pest control professional will have the products and equipment to control earwigs effectively.

More Information

Earwigs vs Other Bugs

  • Difference Between Earwig and Cockroach
  • Difference Between between Earwigs and Silverfish
  • Difference Between between Earwigs and Spiders
  • Difference Between between Earwigs and Termites

In the Home

  • How do I keep earwigs out of my house?
  • Why do I have earwigs in my apartment or home?
  • Infestation
  • Earwigs in house plants

FAQs:

  • Are earwigs dangerous or poisonous to humans?
  • Do earwigs bite people?
  • What do earwigs eat?

Biology

  • What do earwigs eggs look like?
  • Earwig larvae
  • Do earwigs have wings and do they fly?
  • Pincers

Get Rid Of Earwigs

Appearance

Earwigs are easily recognizable by their pincers (forceps harmless to humans) at the ends of their abdomen. They are dark reddish-brown, with light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long.

Earwig Biology

In a season, females reproduce up to 20-60 eggs laid in burrows (called chambers), 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil. Most species have one generation a year, over-wintering in the soil. Both adults and the young require moisture to live.

Habits

  • Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night. They are scavengers, eating primarily dead insects and decomposing plant materials.
  • Some earwig species are attracted to lights.
  • During the day, earwigs will seek shelter under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. Earwigs prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks, and stones.
  • Earwigs eat live plants and can do damage to field crops.
  • Earwigs are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation.
  • Their populations build up around foundations. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.
  • Earwigs live in habitats that also harbor centipedes, sow bugs (roly-poly), and millipedes.

Prevention

  • Because earwigs are attracted to moisture it is important to eliminate high moisture areas. Earwigs may be present, althugh invisible during the day around foundations, in mulch, under stones, boards, etc.
  • Look for ways to eliminate damp moist conditions particulary around crawl spaces, faucets, and along the foundations.
  • Rain gutters and spouts should direct water away from the house foundation.
  • Caulk or use weather stripping at all possible entry points such as doors, windows, pipes and other entry points at the ground level
  • Change landscaping by creating a clean, dry border immediately around the foundation wall. Gravel or ornamental stones can make an attractive barrier against earwigs and other pest invaders.

Earwig Control and Recommendations

Removing earwig habitats is very important to the control of all insects, including earwigs.

As they are attracted to lights, it might help to reduce some of the lighting outside at night.

Most insecticide treatment should be done outside with application around the building foundation, flower beds, mulch areas and turf within a couple of yards of the building, as well as in the crawl space areas of the home. Treat in a three to six foot band around the building adjacent to the foundation (perimeter treatment) to stop or limit earwigs from getting indoors. Spring and Summer are the best times to apply insecticides.

Recommended products and treatment are:

  • LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7 (Top Recommendation)
  • Cyper WSP
  • Bifen It
  • All these products are odorless and will provide excellent results.

    Bifen IT may be used outside only(limited inside usage) and is a recommended insecticide for mosquito and tick control.

    Cyper WSP has been a very popular product but has a slight visible film that can be seen against darker surfaces.

    LambdaStar ULtraCap 9.7 is odorless, long lasting and may be used in or outside with no visible residue.

    If earwigs are coming indoors, use a supplemental treatment such as a crack and crevice aerosol, spraying along the baseboards, beneath cabinets, and other hiding places on the ground level.

    A recommended aerosol would be : Crack and Crevice Invader. It comes with crack and crevice tools to spay with a fine stream.

Habits

Earwigs usually spend their days hiding while feeding on leaves, flowers, fruits, mold and insects at night. During the day, most earwig species tend to seek out cold, wet areas that are left undisturbed, such as small, moist crevices. When feeding at night, these insects prefer decaying vegetation and plant items found beneath mulch or wet leaves. Additionally, certain types of earwigs will target seedlings, potentially rendering crops and garden plants unproductive due to the damage caused by these insects. Some earwig species will also prey on smaller arthropods and insects.

When startled or uncovered, earwigs will quickly move and run away. They can be found living together outdoors in large numbers, usually congregating under piles of lawn debris, mulch or in tree holes. This is a habit that scientists believe is caused by a pheromone produced by these insects.

When provoked by a need for food or a change in weather, earwigs may infiltrate households by way of exterior cracks and openings. Once inside, they are found near water sources, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. Earwigs have also been known to make their way into other household areas such as family rooms and bedrooms. Furthermore, these insects are attracted to lights, causing them to become a nuisance on patios and porches during summer evenings.

After spending the winter in small burrows in the ground outdoors, female earwigs will lay eggs in these burrows come springtime. These relatively small eggs are round in shape and white to tan in color. Earwigs have been known to display maternal characteristics, tending to the eggs until they hatch and caring for the nymphs until they are able to find their own food.

Summer Months…Where are these Earwigs coming from??

Earwigs have a particularly aggressive appearance. Their pincers make for a fairly menacing first impression. Even though they don’t directly pose a threat to humans, you definitely don’t want them roaming free or having an out of control population around your home. And here are some important things you should know about earwigs and earwig control!

What they look like…

Their size depends on the species, but they usually vary from 5-25 mm. These slender insects have two pairs of wings, two antennae, six legs, and membranous wings. They’re usually dark brown, black or yellow in color. Their bodies are long and flat, divided into three sections. Some species produce the yellow-brown smelling liquid that they use for defense. That defense technique is another reason that you don’t want them in your home. The excretion can produce staining on upholstered couches and fabric finishes.

How they act…

Earwigs are attracted to dark and moist places habitats. These pests are attracted to light, so you can find them on porches and patios on summer evenings. An earwig comes to the world as one of 30 to 50 eggs that hatch within two weeks. Females are capable of producing one to two litters per year. After hatching, earwigs develop in a series of five stages and the mother actually guards the eggs.

Earwig Diet…

Earwigs are omnivores and they tend to eat at night. They eat plant matter like leaves, flowers, fruit, and mold, and they also don’t mind if their dinner is alive. They are able to chew, so they can eat other insects.

How do you know you have an infestation…

Earwigs are pests since they can invade your property easily. Also, they reproduce really fast, so they can present a problem. Homeowners often find them in areas where there is water like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, but they can infest many different areas in a home. Common entry points are include access doors, foundation vents and the gaps between foundations and sidings. Earwigs may also intentionally enter a home when they are attracted by lights. When you start to notice them in large numbers inside and outside, that means that they’ve managed to spread all over your household. Since earwig control requires knowledge, you should contact a professional to deal with these pests.

How do you get rid of them…

One of the most important things to do for prevention is to eliminate their hiding places like decorative stone, logs, dead leaves, and the other organic matter. Trim trees and shrubs that cause shady areas near your house. You’ll also need to adjust your outdoor light to shine from the yard onto the house. Another solution is to replace white bulbs with yellow since white light is more attractive to all insects. To prevent them from entering your home, seal all cracks and holes.

Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different types of pests and use that knowledge when developing a pest control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or for a free quick quote.

Are earwigs dangerous or poisonous to humans?

Because of their intimidating pincers, or forceps, protruding from the abdomen, earwigs might appear to be a dangerous bug. This is a misconception. Earwigs can use their forceps to grasp onto a finger if agitated, but earwigs do not sting nor are they dangerous. They have no venom, so earwigs are not poisonous.

Insects such as mosquitoes or bed bugs can injure people by biting. Others can sting by inserting a stinger from the abdomen, through which they often can inject venom. Venom is used to defend from predators and to subdue prey. Earwigs cannot sting, since they lack a stinger and venom or poison sac.

The physical act of pinching using the forceps might cause some discomfort and might even break the skin in rare cases. If the skin is broken, it is best to treat it as any scratch which may be exposed to germs in the soil. Use an antibiotic cream or lotion to make sure that the scratch does not become infected.

Perhaps the greatest danger from earwigs is to garden plants, as earwigs, depending on the species, like to feed on seedlings.

There are no known injuries requiring emergency treatment due to earwigs. And the folklore that they can get into your ears and lay eggs or enter the brain is not true. However, if there are any medical concerns, speak to a physician.

What Does an Earwig Infestation Look Like? Why Do I Have Earwigs in My Apartment or Home? Do Earwigs Bite People? Do Earwigs Have Wings and Do They Fly? How Do I Control Earwigs and Will They Hurt House Plants? How Do I Exterminate or Get Rid of Earwigs? How Do I Keep Earwigs Out of My House? How Do You Prevent Earwigs? Types of Earwigs What Are Earwig Pincers?

What Is the Difference…

-Between Earwigs and Cockroaches?

-Between Earwigs and Silverfish?

-Between Earwigs and Spiders?

-Between Earwigs and Termites?

What Do Earwig Eggs Look Like? What Are Earwig Larvae? What Do Earwigs Eat? What Is the Life Cycle of the Earwig?

Are Earwigs Dangerous?

Date Posted: August 28, 2017
Category: Earwigs

We have all seen “pincher bugs” on the ground, in out-buildings, and even inside our homes. You have to admit, earwigs are creepy and scary looking with their pincer like appendages. Not only that, they move very quickly and congregate in very large numbers making them look like something out of a horror movie.

But, are those scary bugs really all that dangerous? Do not fear, they do not pose any danger to you or your pets, which is contrary to the old myth about them. Their name came from that old myth that said they crawled into people’s ears and bored holes into their brains. This myth is not true at all. Unless they are threatened, they usually don’t even bite, and the bite is not very painful or cause much of a reaction at all. They are however a serious nuisance, and who wants these creepy creatures roaming about all over their home anyway? Not me that’s for sure, they give me the shivers.

To prevent earwigs from entering your home, you will need to seal off all cracks, holes, and crevices that provide an entry point. Replace or repair broken screens, vents, door and window frames. You should eliminate all sources of moisture that attract the earwigs, like fixing leaky pipes and running a dehumidifier in damp rooms. These tips will help, but most likely you will still experience the dreaded “pincher bug”.

You’ve seen them, you know you don’t want them and you need to get rid of them. The only way to eliminate them completely from your home and property is by calling on the professionals at Big Blue Bug Solutions in Providence, Rhode Island and throughout our New England service area. You will be guaranteed results!

What’s even better than getting rid of “pincher bugs” completely? That’s easy, keeping them away with year-round pest control services! We have the best solutions that are responsible and effective. At Big Blue Bug Solutions we offer a preventative maintenance program, where we visit three times per year to take care of the most common pests in your home. If a pest issue arises in between visits, we come back at no additional cost to you.

We also take pride in being the cleanest pest control around and offer our exclusive Blue Glove Service. When we enter your home we want to leave it as clean as when we got there, so our technicians wear blue gloves and booties every time we enter your home. When we leave, the only difference will be is that the pests will be gone too. Call us today and ask about our year-round services at Big Blue Bug Solutions!

Tags: get rid of earwigs | earwig prevention tips | year round pest control services |

There are all kinds of frightening common pests, but earwigs might be the scariest of them all. Earwigs frightening appearance, ominous name, and general mysteriousness only contribute further to their fearsome reputation. You’ve probably heard all kinds of creepy things about earwigs, even if you don’t know much about them.

As we’ve said before, we think that lack of knowledge is the biggest reason why earwigs are so feared. When you don’t know much about earwigs, it’s easy to make up all kinds of scary stories about them. We get it–just look at those pincers! To counteract that impulse, here are 10 facts you should know about earwigs. Keep these in mind next time you see an earwig, and they won’t freak you out nearly as much.

10. They aren’t dangerous

Earwigs are not aggressive, and rarely lash out except in self-defense or fear. Even if they do pinch you, they can’t seriously hurt you. The most damage an earwig’s pincer could do is to pinch your skin, which may create a small welt. Earwigs aren’t poisonous, don’t transmit diseases, and can’t inflict significant structural damage. They might be a nuisance, but they’re not dangerous.

9. They don’t crawl in your ears

This is a common myth about earwigs. Despite their name, earwigs do not crawl into and infest people’s ear. They certainly don’t crawl through the ear and lay eggs in the brain, as some of the particularly tall tales suggest. Earwigs like dark, warm, humid places, so it’s technically possible that they may be attracted to a sleeping person’s ear. This would be an extremely unlikely occurrence, however, and the bug wouldn’t stay there long, lay eggs, or burrow. You shouldn’t worry about earwigs burrowing into your ears.

8. They will pinch defensively

Earwigs are not dangerous, but they will use their pincers on humans if they feel threatened or startled. Usually, earwigs will pinch you if you try to pick them up or handle them. These pincers probably aren’t strong enough to break your skin, but the pinching might hurt a little. It could also leave a small bruise or welt. Don’t pick up the earwigs you find with your bare hands.

7. They love hiding in dirt

The most common place you’ll find earwigs is under thin layers of topsoil in your garden or yard. Earwigs love to burrow through soil to stay hidden, damp, and cool. They’ll also eat subterranean plant life and dig out small nests for their eggs. You may frequently encounter earwigs while digging in your garden.

6. They’re considered invasive pests

Earwigs aren’t native to the US but have been firmly established since at least 1907. The most common earwig in North America, the European Earwig, thrives throughout the US. They might not be native, but it’s normal to find earwigs around your home. Don’t be alarmed if you see one in your garden.

5. They’re attracted to rotting plant material

Earwigs are attracted to rotting plant material because it’s a damp, moist food source they can rely on. In some cases, earwigs may burrow into or near the rotting plant material to hide and continue feeding. They’ll also eat healthy plant material, particularly if it’s nearby.

4. They’re omnivores

Earwigs are omnivorous foragers, which basically means they’re not picky. Though they prefer rotting plants, they’ll eat pretty much anything they can. Earwigs often hunt and feed on smaller insect pests. They use their forceps to catch and hold their prey before eating them. Earwigs will eat whatever they can find in and around your home.

3. They have wings and may use them to limited effect

Earwigs aren’t good fliers, but they do have usable wings. The European earwig may use these wings to jump small distances, break falls, or escape danger. Unfolded earwig wings are shaped like human ears, which is where some people think the name actually comes from.

2. They often get inside homes via hitchhiking

Earwigs are attracted to darkness, humidity, moisture, and shelter. When they find ideal locations, they love to dig in (sometimes literally). These factors make them highly-mobile accidental hitchhikers. Like bed bugs, they often make their into different bags or boxes. Then, when you bring those bags or boxes inside, you’re also inadvertently bringing in earwigs. Earwigs are especially likely to infest bags of dirt, fertilizer, or seeds.

1. They love moisture and humidity

Earwigs want to live in humid, moist, and cool environments. They’re attracted to topsoil because it lets them stay cool and sheltered in a dark and humid place. If your home provides an environment they like, they’ll be attracted to it. It’s not uncommon to find earwig infestations in low, humid areas of your home such as your basement. You may have transported them inside, or they may sneak in through gaps near baseboard or window wells.

Hopefully, these ten facts demonstrate that earwigs are far from the fearsome monsters you might see them as. In fact, as far as pest insects go, they’re relatively harmless and mundane.

Just because earwigs are harmless doesn’t mean you should have to tolerate them, however. If you have an earwig problem in your home, give Griffin a call anytime. We can kick out earwigs just like they’re any other pest–because they are.

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