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earwig

Introduction

Earwigs are associated with a myth which states that they crawl into people ears at night while they are sleeping and burrow into their brains in order to lay their eggs. This is just a myth and is completely untrue. There are over 20 different species of earwigs living throughout North America.

Recognition

Earwigs are a dark reddish brown color and grow to be about 5/8th of an inch in length. Earwigs have a long narrow body with two “cerci” or pinchers coming off of their hind end. In the case of the male the cerci are curved, and the female’s are straight. Their pinchers are used to defend themselves against each other and are rarely strong enough to pinch or cause pain to a person.

Biology

Earwigs have a basic life cycle of egg, nymph, and then adult. The female begins the life cycle by digging into the ground and laying her eggs (30 or more). When the eggs hatch small light brown colored nymphs emerge. They stay in their nest and are fed by their mother until their first molt. They will go through four to five molts, depending on their species, before they become darker in color and reach adulthood. A female m ay raise two clutches of eggs per year.

Habits

Earwigs are usually found living in damp dark areas. Outdoors they live underneath mulch, leaves, logs, piles of grass, and in hollow trees. If the weather becomes too hot and dry they may make their way indoors while seeking a more suitable environment to live in. In homes they are generally found under sinks, in bathrooms, in basements, and in crawl spaces. Earwigs may also be found congregating around exterior doors because they are attracted to outdoor lighting.

They generally hide during the day and come out at night to feed. Earwigs feed on a variety of dead and living things; including insects, mites, leaves, flowers, soft fruits (especially berries), and mold.

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Prevention

Implementing a year round pest control service from Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions is the best way to prevent earwigs from coming into your home. There are some things that you can to lessen the likelihood that a earwig will choose your home. Reducing moisture levels in and around your home will greatly reduce your chances of an earwig infestation. Make sure to fix any leaky pipes or fixtures and use dehumidifiers in basements, crawl spaces and other humid areas of your home. It is also helpful to eliminate environments on your property that will attract earwigs. You can practice simple things like eliminating of piles of leaves, grass and other organic materials and keep woodpiles up off of the ground and away from the exterior of your home. Keep earwigs out by sealing cracks in the foundation and caulking gaps around windows and doors.

Control

The professionals at Rottler can control earwigs through our all-inclusive Signature Protection program. Our trained technicians will inspect your property and then service both the exterior and interior of your home applying residual insecticides to your home’s foundation walls, landscaping beds and other necessary areas to help eliminate problems with earwigs in and around your home.

Sources

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74102.html
http://extension.illinois.edu/bugreview/earwigs.cfm
http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/iiin/earwis.html

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