The European earwig (Forficula auricularia) is native to Europe and was introduced to North America in the early 1900s. Today, it is a common insect throughout all of North America. This creepy crawler possibly gets its name from an old and false belief that it crawls in your ear and eats your brains. Although they are harmless to humans, people don’t like them due to their ugly appearance and bad odor (when crushed). Their distinctive forceps or pincers do not contain any poison and will not pierce skin. The pincers are mainly used during mating, feeding and self-defense against other insects. Males have curved pincers while female pincers are straight.
Earwigs like to hide in cool, dark, and moist areas. You will most likely find them in mulch, decaying plants and leaves, cracks and crevices and under flower pots and boards. If exposed, they quickly run to another hiding place and can easily fit in tight spaces. They like to feed on plant material and small insects. Here are some tips to get rid of these pests:
- sink a low-sided can (such as a cat food can) into your soil so that the rim is at the same level as the ground. Fill the can with a 1/2 inch of oil. Throw away captured earwigs and repeat as needed.
- placed a rolled up newspaper, bamboo tube, corrugated cardboard or short piece of hose on the soil near your plants in the evening. In the morning, shake out the trapped earwigs into a pail of soapy water and repeat as needed.
- If they enter your home, vacuum them up and dispose of the bag right away. Do not crush them as they emit a bad odor.
If you have trouble managing these pests or if large amounts hide in your door frames and crawl spaces, Accurate Termite and Pest Control is always here to lend a hand.