What are Earwigs and Why Do They Invade?Earwigs are odd-looking insects, about an inch long, with prominent pinchers or cerci on their rear ends. They use these pinchers for defense and to fold up their wings. Contrary to popular belief, earwigs don’t actually crawl into people’s ears or lay eggs inside. However, they can still cause problems when they find their way indoors. Earwigs thrive in damp, dark places to hide and breed. If you have any consistently moist areas in your home like a basement, crawlspace or bathroom, earwigs can detect that through cracks and crevices. They’re also drawn to mulch or compost piles where they can feast on decaying plants, insects, and organic debris. From these sites, they often follow moisture to locate openings in your home’s foundation, walls, or gaps around windows and doors. Outdoor lighting attracting other insects can also inadvertently lure earwigs inside.
Tactics to Kick Earwigs Out of Your HouseTo effectively get rid of earwigs inside your home, here are some smart tactics:
- Dry up damp areas earwigs like using a dehumidifier or by fixing leaky pipes, gutters, and proper drainage. Removing their moist shelters deters them.
- Apply pesticides made specifically for earwigs in cracks, crevices, and other hiding spots. Also use sticky traps or diatomaceous earth to catch them. Carefully follow all label instructions when using chemicals in your home.
- If you have a major earwig infestation, it may be best to call a professional pest control company. Exterminators have the products, tools and experience to fully eliminate an earwig problem.
- Vacuum up any earwigs you spot inside and immediately empty the bag or container outside so they don’t escape back into your house.
Can Termites and Earwigs Infest the Same House?
Termites damaging brick houses may coexist with earwigs within the same house. While termites primarily feed on wood, they can also infiltrate cracks in masonry and damage brick structures. Conversely, earwigs are attracted to damp areas and commonly reside in bricks or other dark hiding spaces. Consequently, both pests could potentially infest a house simultaneously, posing a dual challenge for homeowners.
Preventing Future Earwig InvasionsHere are some key tips to earwig-proof your home:
- Caulk and seal any exterior cracks, crevices or openings earwigs can squeeze through. This includes fixing damaged window screens, filling foundation gaps, and weatherstripping doors.
- Reduce moisture sources inside and outside your home. Use bathroom exhaust fans, ensure proper attic and crawlspace ventilation, and keep gutters clean.
- Regularly remove piles of rotting leaves, mulch, wood, and other decaying matter far from your house, as these are prime earwig food sources.
- Consider installing yellow outdoor lighting which is less attractive to insects than white light fixtures near doors or windows.
Natural Earwig DeterrentsFor a non-toxic approach to keeping earwigs away, try:
- Creating barriers of crushed eggshells, diatomaceous earth, or cedar mulch around the exterior of your home.
- Applying boric acid powder carefully in garage door tracks, window sills, behind appliances and other indoor spots earwigs frequent. Always follow label directions closely when using boric acid.
- Spraying essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, or peppermint diluted in water around your foundation and garden beds.