How To Control Earwigs



Earwigs are more of a nuisance than a pest. In fact, earwigs are beneficial insects when kept at low numbers.

Earwigs are small insects about five-eighths of an inch long with reddish-brown bodies and light brown legs. They have small pinchers that are harmless to humans and animals.

Earwigs overwinter six feet underground.

Earwigs are nocturnal insects. They feed on dead insects and decomposing plant materials. They prefer dark and wet areas so they will be found under mulch, sidewalks, stones and boards.

Earwigs are predators of insect larvae, snails, aphids, spiders, mites, and other slow moving insects. Earwigs feed on mosses, lichens, algae, and fungi.

Earwigs are attracted to lights so sometimes enter homes as a result. Decrease outside lighting around the house, especially at ground level. Keep areas around building foundations dry by using gravel, stones and rocks for mulch on ornamental beds near the house. Caulking around doors, windows, pipes and other entry sites, especially at the ground level can also prevent them from entering homes.

When found in the home earwigs can simply be swept or vacuumed up and tossed away.

In large numbers earwigs can do damage to crops especially to small seedlings. They feed on the soft parts of plants such as corn silks and the tender foliage of flowers.

When control is necessary, a sticky trap made from Tanglefoot (TM) can be made.

Diatomaceous earth or boric acid sprinkled where they crawl and especially around foundations of buildings, along sidewalks, fences and trees helps to control their numbers. Pay particular attention to any cracks and crevices where they hide.

Rolled up wet newspaper or burlap placed on the ground will lure them inside where they can be disposed of.

Some people have been able to trap earwigs in small traps made with cardboard boxes baited with oatmeal or bran while others have had success with small traps baited with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

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Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
Email: Current address on website