The Earwig got its name from the widespread superstition that they used to crawl into people’s ears while they were sleeping and bore into the brain. There are over 20 different species of earwigs, but typically only about three of these are commonly known as pests. The earwig has forcept like appendages called cerci on their rear end and these are primarily used for both defense and offense. They can be used to defend the nest, capture prey or checkout cracks and crevices.
Earwigs are typically brownish to black in color, have narrowed bodies that is elongated and somewhat flat. Their length range from ¼ to 1inch. Earwigs naturally live outside, and feed on organic material and dead insects. They do require high levels of moisture and are often found in very wet areas of buildings, and homes that maybe have some type of leak or water collection problem. They will hide in the mulch, under stones and other material. Earwigs are active at night and hide during the day. So large populations can be missed or unnoticed.
How does an earwig enter a home or structure? They can simply walk in, be carried n with potted plants, wood stacks, or other items that are brought in from the outside. They can migrate inside when their natural harborage become to dry. They can enter any structure from cracks and crevices, holes, under doors, etc. Earwigs will feed on sweet, oily, or greasy food once inside a structure. Day time hiding spots can be under furniture, baseboards, cabinets and cracks and crevices and wall voids.
Control of an earwig can be approached similar to the cockroach, concentrating on the cracks and crevices, under cabinets, wall voids, baseboards and near areas of moisture. Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements. They are very susceptible to insecticides and homeowners will have success with products like Suspend SC.
Long term control of Earwigs is more about habitat modification and what you specifically do to make your property less attractive to them. Earwigs are attracted to lights so limiting your landscape light is one option. They do require moisture and are attracted to areas of heavy moisture, so if you have an areas that is moist, and damp near the home this should be corrected. Not only for the control and prevention of earwigs but also other insects like Carpenter Ants.
Make your landscaping less attractive by reducing the level of mulch, heavy organic material ( such as leaves) away from the foundation. Reduce their hiding places by not locating piles of lumber, leaf litter, woodpiles away from the structure.
For chronic earwig populations a perimeter treatment of any residual insecticide that is labeled for earwigs will help eliminate them and reduce the incidence of entering the structure. Treat all the entry points, and a three foot band around the house for a very effective perimeter treatment that will work for almost all insects including the earwig.