Put these two images together and what do you get?  EARWIGS!!

The name earwig comes from an old European superstition that these insects enter the ears of sleeping people and bore into their brain.  We now know this not to be true but it’s still a fun fact!

Earwigs are easily identified by their forcep-like cerci located at the end of their body.  These are used as both defensive and offensive weapons.  Earwigs possess wings but rarely use their flying abilities. These pests have an appalling smell when they are crushed.  For protection, some species of earwig will squirt this same foul smelling liquid from scent glands located on their abdomens.  It aims the liquid by revolving the abdomen which enables it to simultaneously use its cerci like pincers in defense.

Earwigs are nocturnal pests that live in moist, shady areas and typically overwinter outdoors in protective situations.  They are often found under mulch, rocks or logs.  They do not survive in long periods of dryness.  However, earwigs travel in groups so if they find a moist area in your home, you could have quite the infestation.  The European and red-legged species invade homes, sometimes by the hundreds or thousands.

Earwigs feed on plants and insects and have been known to damage cultivated plants, vegetables, flowers, fruits, shrubs and trees.  Sometimes, they feed on honey from beehives.

To prevent earwigs from making their way into your home:

  • Establish a low moisture zone around the perimeter of your home.
  • Look for areas that are dark and moist such as the attic, basement or garage.
  • Earwigs are attracted to lights and are attracted to other insects that are attracted to lights so be sure that all outside lights do not show directly on the house or are low level or yellow lights.
  • Call a professional exterminating company to help control the issue