Earwigs — fairly large and imposing insects with scary pincers on their rears — have inspired superstitions for hundreds of years now. Contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that earwigs have a tendency to crawl into humans ears. They do not bite or sting people or pets like cats and dogs either, although they will absolutely use their pincers if they feel threatened.
Earwigs strongly prefer damp and dark environments. Most earwig species are scavengers who primarily eat decaying plant and other organic matter, but a few are predators that target other insects. Quite a few earwig species do snack on living plants, particularly the roots. Since earwigs are mostly outdoor bugs, anyone wondering how to get rid of earwigs most likely has them in the garden. Earwigs do occasionally make their way into people’s homes, however, where they are most likely to be found in and around (compost) bins and houseplants.
What can you do to get rid of earwigs, whether outdoors or inside?
Because earwigs will use their pincers if they feel threatened, during which time they can also emit a foul-smelling substance, it is best to avoid handling earwigs with your hands. They’re not dangerous, per se, but they are unpleasant. If you spot a single earwig in your home, you may be able to squash it or trap it to release it outside. However, earwigs move quite quickly — and that’s why hoovering them up is quite an effective way to catch an earwig.
If you suspect that you have a larger earwig infestation in your home, it may, however, be time to call in the pest control professionals. These indoor infestations are rare, but possible in cases of crawl spaces with a lot of soil, or in homes with numerous houseplants. The best things to do would be to concentrate on ways to render the space inhospitable to earwigs, rather than to focus on killing individual earwigs. Many insecticides are, however, efficient at killing earwigs. To achieve this goal without harm to people, pets, and plants, a pest control company that focuses on integrated pest management is your best bet.
To prevent earwigs from entering your home, the following pesticide-free steps are very effective:
In the garden, you can:
Earwig traps can also play a role in eliminating these pests from your garden and home alike. You have several options, which rely on the same principle of attracting earwigs, causing them to fall in to the trap, and preventing them from coming back out:
The surface tension created by the soap or oil will prevent earwigs from exiting the trap once they have made it inside. Oily traps will naturally attract earwigs, but soapy ones will not necessary do so, so you will want to cover these with a light coating of old leaves or compost. Like other nocturnal bugs, earwigs seek out light sources — so setting up a small light that shines directly at the trap will make the trap more effective. Once earwigs have fallen in, you can discard the trap and set up a new one.