How to Get Rid of Earwigs
Earwigs are common yet relatively harmless pests that are annoying to see skittering around the house or garden. While earwigs seldom damage crops and are incapable of harming people, their presence is universally unwanted, so you’ll need to learn how to get rid of earwigs.
Knowing how to get rid of earwigs is straightforward, but you’ll need to understand their basic features and habits first. In this article, we’ll walk you through the world of how to get rid of earwigs so that you’ll be well-equipped to dispatch them in your home.
What Are Earwigs, And Where Do They Live?
Earwigs are small oblong insects which have antennae on their head and conspicuously large pincers on their tails. You don’t need to worry about getting pinched by the pincers — they’re not intended for violence, but for mating. They can’t exert any pressure through their pincers.
Most earwigs are nocturnal, and they like to live in underground burrows in loamy dirt.
If you happen to see an earwig during the day, there’s a good chance that it is trying to return to a dark and damp burrow to wait for more favorable conditions. It’s very rare to find earwigs in the direct sun.
Earwigs enjoy eating leaves, decaying plant matter, and living vegetable matter that’s soft enough for them to eat.
This means that earwigs can eat everyday garden items like:
If your plants have been raided by earwigs, the bite pattern will make it visible. Plants eaten by earwigs have small circular holes, which are roughly three to six millimeters in diameter. The edges of these circular holes often have browned or burnt appearance.
You can still eat produce which an earwig has nibbled on, however. Earwigs don’t eat very much, and they are unlikely to contaminate plants to a significant degree.
Earwigs flourish in damp environments, and extra moisture is not a problem for them. This means that in years where there is a high volume of rain, you should expect to encounter more earwigs and prepare for how to get rid of earwigs accordingly.
How To Kill Earwigs
If you want to know how to get rid of earwigs, you’ll need to learn how to kill earwigs in each of the different contexts where they are likely to reside.
Earwigs are not particularly difficult to kill, but there are a few best practices that will ensure that you don’t need to spend too much time eliminating them.
First, understand that you are taking a risk if you decide to smash earwigs with a boot or heavy object. Earwigs can produce a foul odor when they are disturbed, so killing them with mechanical force is ill-advised if you do not have the element of surprise.
Second, be aware that earwigs are not the most invasive pests. While they can slowly fly short distances, their primary escape ability is their speed and ability to hide under leaf litter and other plants.
Third, keep in mind that you probably don’t need to kill earwigs to get rid of them. In most cases, changing your environment to make their preferred habitats challenging to come by is enough to stem the earwig infestation.
How To Get Rid of Earwigs In The House
Getting rid of earwigs in your house is somewhat challenging because earwigs do not typically prefer to be established inside of homes. While earwigs can subsist on dropped crumbs and other pieces of waste, they do not prefer these food sources when there are better ones around.
This means that they are likely living in a burrow that is very close to the outside of your house rather than living deep inside of your home like a cockroach or centipede might.
In other words, to get rid of earwigs in your house, you should walk around the exterior of your home and identify cracks and other areas where earwigs might be hanging out. Then, you can spray the cracks with insecticide.
Be sure to seal the cracks afterward. You don’t need to wait to see if there were earwigs in the break before sealing it up. Earwigs do not reproduce very rapidly, so killing a small nest of them is typically enough to guarantee to be earwig free.
You can also keep earwigs from getting established in your house by removing sources of humidity and dampness. Earwigs won’t colonize areas where there isn’t enough dampness, so drying out problem areas in your home is an excellent way to encourage them to live elsewhere.
You should also be sure to keep your trash contained in a scent-proof container if you have an earwig problem. Earwigs do not have a powerful sense of smell, but particularly odorous waste will draw them from a short distance.
In many cases, the earwigs will be drawn to the trash when it is outside of your home, so take care where you place your bins.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs In The Garden
There are a few ways for how to get rid of earwigs in the garden. First, you can use diatomaceous earth to kill earwigs. Diatomaceous earth is jagged enough at a microscopic level that when earwigs run over it, their carapaces will be punctured, causing them to die.
Diatomaceous earth is a great way to kill earwigs in the garden because it won’t harm your plants or any helpful pollinators. Likewise, your pets won’t be inclined to eat it, nor will it hurt them.
Diatomaceous earth may not be enough to protect all of your plants from earwigs if they are already established in your garden, however. For established earwig infestations in your yard, you should prepare to use a mild insecticide spray on your plants and fruits.
The best spray for earwigs is whatever you can purchase which is the mildest and nontoxic to the plants in your garden. Earwigs are not particularly resilient against poison, so a low-power insecticide is usually sufficient to kill them.
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