When you hear the word earwig, do you get creeped out? How about if you see them crawling around in your bathroom or, worse, your bedroom? Yup, most folks do not respond positively to these gross, scary looking creatures invading their homes. Today, we are going to explore what it is about certain homes that makes them inviting to these disturbing creatures. But first, let's talk about how to identify earwigs and the problems they can bring with them when they invade.

How To Identify An Earwig

Earwigs are black to brown insects that have a slender, elongated flattened body, bead-like antennae, and can be easy to identify by the pair of large pincers (called cerci) at the tip of their abdomen. At full growth, males have 10 abdominal tergites and females have 8. Some earwigs are wingless, but most of them have forewings that are short, thick and veinless, and hind wings that fold in a unique fan-like fashion. Earwigs can grow to be approximately 22 cm in length and, interestingly, there are 22 types of earwigs in the United States.

Problems Caused By Having Earwigs In Your Home

If you are reading this article, you may be concerned about earwigs biting. Well, you can rest easy. Earwigs don't generally bite humans, and even if they try, they can't break the skin. They can, however, give a pinch with their pincers. This also is unlikely to break the skin, but it can be painful. If an earwig has come into contact with harmful bacteria, it could also transfer that bacteria to a wound if it does manage to break the skin. Because of this possibility, it is a good idea to apply an antibacterial ointment if you have been pinched by an earwig.

Other than a possible pinch, earwigs are harmless to humans. However, they can make themselves a frustrating pest when they invade flower beds, gardens and, of course, homes. Oftentimes, when damage occurs to flowers, crops and foliage, earwigs are the ones to blame. And if earwigs are present in your home, this could be an indication of bigger problems. Earwigs are unlikely to create holes in homes in order to squeeze in. Therefore, if earwigs are in your home, then the holes they squeezed through were likely made by other pests, pests that can be much more troublesome, such as carpenter ants, termites, rodents, or other harmful bugs. The presence of earwigs may also be a sign that there is water damage in your home. This could be caused by a broken gutter system, leaky pipes or other water leak problem. Make note that water-damaged wood is a magnet for many nuisance or destructive pests.

So Why Do Earwigs Choose Certain Homes?

  • Moisture: Earwigs, like termites, love moisture, so they are attracted to wet or rotting wood. If you have a broken or obstructed gutter, a leaky spigot, or some other condition that is allowing moisture to build up on or around your home, this may be what is drawing earwigs to your home.

  • Plants: Earwigs love plants. If you have a flower garden, vegetable garden, flower pots, or other vegetation up close to your home, this could be what is luring earwigs in close.

  • Decaying wood materials: Again, earwigs are attracted to moisture. So, if you have a woodpile, construction material, or other wet wood material close to your home, earwigs will love you for it. Other pests use these things to hide in or under as well.

  • Other yard clutter: Earwigs, and many other pests, love hiding underneath tarps, rocks, and other objects that are left in your yard, especially if they are surrounded by vegetation.

  • Wet conditions outside: If there is too much rain, and you have entry points in your home, earwigs are likely to try to get inside, away from the rising water table.

If you are being creeped out by these scary-looking bugs, you are not alone. But Witt Pest Management can help. We have been assisting people in getting rid of earwigs, and a whole host of other, more damaging, pests, for over 100 years. Reach out to us today for prompt and professional assistance.