Why are earwigs so hard to kill?

Do you ever wonder why you kill an earwig or spray an insecticide in your tub only to find another one a few hours later or the very next day? Earwigs are not a special bug that just cannot be killed. There’s no super hard shell that protects them, and they’re not super fast. The constant earwig sighting can happen all summer long and can be extremely frustrating to homeowners.

What are earwigs?

Earwigs are small brownish-black insects that have two “pinchers” on their abdomens, which are not powerful enough to break human skin, and wings, but rarely fly. Unlike other insects that can lay thousands of eggs, the earwig female only lays about 50 to 60 eggs at a time. However, the female earwig will protect her eggs until they hatch, which is rare in the insect world. They are nocturnal insects that hide in dark, wet places during the day and feed at night. Earwigs mainly feed on plants and normally live in the woods, but thrive on the conditions inside a home. Typically, the places you would find earwigs are in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement where it’s moist. And no, they do not nest in human ears.

You’ll know if earwigs are around your home if your plants’ leaves are jagged and full of holes. Some plants will become ragged overnight and will have some leaves partially eaten. You may also see some earwig excrement, which will be black.

Why do I always find so many of them?

Earwigs love moisture and darkness. When you constantly water and re-mulch your grass and landscaping, then place statues or planters in your yard, you give earwigs everything they need to thrive. Moisture is critical for their survival, and being nocturnal, they not only find safety and darkness under our landscape but the dampness that collects makes for a perfect nest. Over time these conditions allow earwigs to explode in numbers, and that’s when you begin to see a persistent problem in and around your home. Since bathrooms, kitchens, and basements are havens for moisture, you will find majority of earwigs here inside a home.

Earwigs are not the most agile insect, but are very good at getting inside a home. Since they are so small, a tiny crack in the foundation or a gap in the seal of a window or door is more than enough space for them. Earwigs are constantly on the move for food. Their natural wandering tendencies lead them into homes.

How can I control my earwig problem?

If you have an earwig problem in your home, it is not because you are dirty or that they just cannot be killed. Our bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, and basements give earwigs a place to hide and survive. In order to help control the earwig population in and around you home, there are a few things you can do.

Outside your home:
  • Limit watering of grass and constant re-mulching of landscape beds around home
  • Limit landscape statues and figurines or place them in the yard further away from the home
  • Check exterior door and window seals, fix any gaps
  • Check foundation for cracks, fill any cracks
  • Birds and toads are natural predators of earwigs, so consider making your yard bird-friendly
  • Create separation of mulch against the foundation of your home, bare soil will dry out making it harder for earwigs to get inside
Inside your home:
  • Promptly wipe up any water spills
  • Fix water leaks immediately
  • Wipe out bathtubs after use
  • Check interior door and window seals, fix any gaps
  • Check baseboard and floorboards, fix any gaps
  • Check walls for crack, fill any cracks
  • Limit the amount of plants you have inside the home

Regular pest control service from Hilton Head Exterminators will also help limit and prevent earwigs in your home. The products we use and where we strategically apply them can deter and eliminate their growing population inside and outside of your home.

The main point to remember when trying to control earwigs is they love darkness and moisture. When you eliminate or limit these conditions, earwigs cannot survive. The drier the area, the lesser the earwig population.

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