Earwig Bugs: Not Just a Nightmare from a Twilight Zone Episode

Earwig bugs seem like something out of a Twilight Zone episode, but they’re real! (The good news is they don’t actually enter your ear and burrow through your brain—that’s science fiction.)

While this bug won’t invade your skull, it can invade your home! The earwig bug is notorious for getting into everything.

Let’s talk about earwigs: what they are, how to prevent them, and what to do if you see one.

What Are Earwig Bugs?

What Earwigs Look Like

Earwigs got their name from the superstition that these bugs crawl into the ears of people while they sleep. The name actually has nothing to do with the earwig’s appearance or behavior.

In fact, the earwig’s most obvious physical feature is the forceps they have at the end of the abdomen. The forceps look somewhat like claws (especially on male earwigs).

The most common earwigs in Ohio are the European earwigs and the ringlegged earwig. Both of these types have six legs, two antennae, forceps, and wings (though they rarely fly). They differ in color:

  • European earwigs are mostly reddish-brown with yellow-brown legs.
  • Ringlegged earwigs are darker, almost black in color, with legs that have white stripes.

Where Earwigs Live

Earwigs love moist, cool spaces. Outside, that means they burrow underground—under logs, stones, or tree bark, or in flower gardens, mulch, compost piles, or wood piles. Inside, they can be found in any crack or crevice near moisture—especially in damp crawl spaces, under sink cabinets, and around baseboards in kitchens and bathrooms.

Since earwigs seek cool, humid spaces, they often venture indoors during dry, hot weather. They can make their way inside by crawling through poorly sealed doors and windows or by hitchhiking on newspaper, luggage, cut flowers, etc.

What Earwigs Eat

Earwig bugs are both a home and garden pest. They are omnivorous scavengers (much like cockroaches) that feed on plants, foodstuffs, other pests, and even dead insects. Earwigs hide during the day and come out at night to find food.

Outside, earwigs are often found around lights, preying on the small insects that are also attracted to the light.

In the home, earwigs will eat anything they can scavenge, from other insects, to pantry items, to crumbs left out.

How to Prevent Earwig Bugs

To prevent an infestation of earwigs, we recommend two things:

  1. Sealing your home.
  2. Eliminating earwig attractants, including moisture and light.

First, sealing the cracks and crevices into your home helps to keep earwigs out (and other pests, too!). Focus on the gaps near windows, doors, basements, pipes, and the foundation of your home. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal gaps—especially at ground level.

Second, eliminating attractants means there is no more “Welcome” sign for this pest. Turn off your porch light at night. (This will avoid attracting other insects as well.) Also, make sure to get rid of excess moisture in and around your home. We recommend doing the following:

  • Make sure rain gutters carry water away from the foundation of the house.
  • Eliminate excess moisture in places like crawl spaces and around air conditioning units.
  • Fix any leaky pipes in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Make sure your landscaping creates a dry border around your foundation. (Consider using gravel or some type of ornamental stone instead of mulch.)
  • Remove decaying and moist plant matter around the home (leaves, grass clippings, wood piles, etc.).

What to Do If Your Home Has Earwigs

You can get rid of the occasional earwig with a vacuum or broom and dust pan. However, if you are dealing with an earwig bug infestation, that’s another thing entirely!

Earwig infestations can be controlled with insecticides (applied both indoor and outdoor). For example, you can consider dusts and sprays applied to baseboards, under cabinets, and in other common indoor earwig hiding places. Outside, a perimeter treatment can be applied around the foundation to prevent earwigs from coming indoors.

An important note: when it comes to insecticides, it’s usually a good idea to have a trained professional do the treatment. Pest control pros have the knowledge and experience to apply insecticides safety and effectively. If you’ve never attempted pest control before, don’t risk your health or home: call a pest control company like ScherZinger Pest Control.

Contact Us Today

Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiryFacebook or Twitter.