earwig in phoenix

Earwigs

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What do earwigs look like?

There are about 22 species of earwigs in the United States. There is some variance, but most earwigs are a mixture of dark red, black, brown, and yellow, with six yellow legs. Adults are most commonly about 1 inch long. You'll first notice the black pincers on the tip of the abdomen. They vary in coloration depending on the species but are most often black. The overall shape of an earwig is a question mark with the head being the point at the bottom.  

earwig crawling on wet deck

Pest Facts

Did you know?

  • There are 22 types of earwigs in the U.S. 
  • Earwigs DO NOT crawl into people's ears while they are sleeping.
  • Female earwigs have a maternal instinct not common in the insect world. 

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Do earwigs bite?

Yes. But it is highly unlikely that one of these insects would ever bite you. What an earwig is more likely to do is pinch you with its pincers. While that is likely unsettling, you have nothing to fear. Its pincers rarely hurt and they aren't able to break the skin. 

Do earwigs actually go in your ear?

Yes, though not for the reasons spoken of in myths. Earwigs don't lay eggs in ears or tunnel to the brain. They will, however, climb into an ear because it looks like an inviting dark hole. But they're not the only insects that do this. Doctors remove all kinds of insects from ear canals, including cockroaches.

Are earwigs dangerous?

No. These are almost entirely nuisance pests. Their pinches are minor and it is extremely unlikely for an earwig to get into your ear unless you sleep on the floor in a dark, humid space where earwigs are known to explore at night.

What are the signs of an earwig infestation?

If you have earwigs, you're likely to see them. Inspect your exterior and check dark, moist habitats, and plant beds. Earwigs are moisture pests, and you'll find them where moisture or humidity is high. You may also see plant damage if you have an earwig infestation. They can create irregular holes in leaves. 

Why are earwigs in my house?

Earwigs explore cracks and crevices in wood and stone. When they enter man-made structures, they don't know that the structures are different from their natural habitat. They'll climb through cracks in your concrete slab, gaps around utilities, and entry points in your walls. They're particularly attracted to decaying wood. 

How do you get rid of earwigs?

You may control earwigs by altering the indoor conditions and by sealing the entry points they used to enter. Earwigs can't survive well in a dry habitat. Indoor moisture and humidity control can eliminate them or drive them out. When combined with pest proofing, you may arrest earwig activity.

If more control is needed, contact a pest control service provider for treatment.  Here at Greenway Pest Solutions, we offer year-round home pest control services that target earwigs and other pests that often find their way into homes in the Phoenix metro. 

How can I prevent earwigs from getting into my home?

There are a variety of ways to prevent an earwig problem inside your home by altering conditions around your home. Here are some examples:

  • Remove organic debris near your home, such as dead branches and plant litter.
  • Keep your trash receptacles clean and dry because earwigs feed on moist decaying organic matter.
  • Address aphid problems in your landscaping as earwigs eat aphids and the sweet honeydew they produce.
  • Trim your plants to prevent vegetation from trapping moisture and only give your plants the water needed. Overwatering can attract earwigs.
  • Keep exterior lights off as they can attract earwigs. Use yellow light in key areas. Earwigs and other insects can perceive yellow light and are not attracted to it.
  • If applicable, have your gutters cleaned to reduce perimeter moisture, which attracts earwigs and the moisture pests they feed on.
  • Use expanding foam to seal structural cavities, gaps, holes, and cracks in your exterior.
  • Use a caulking gun to create a seal around your framing.

It takes work to keep earwigs out. If you'd like a hassle-free solution for earwigs, contact your Greenway Pest Solutions team!

A family on couch with their children.
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