The earwig is a frequent and distinct household pest that has caused distress to many households for many years. Their name comes from their side-to-side body movement and an old myth of crawling in people’s ears. Earwigs are the ecological scavengers of the insect world, cleaning up dead and decaying plant life and insects in homes and gardens all over the world.
When their population goes beyond control, they may switch to eating living plants, particularly young leaves and seedlings of flowers and vegetables. This article will discuss the basics of earwigs and how to efficiently get rid of them.
How to Identify Earwigs
Earwigs can grow up to 3/4 inches in length. They are reddish-brown bugs with forceps-like extensions on their tail ends. The earwig possesses a set of terrifying-looking pincers that few other insects have.
This is why they are sometimes referred to as “pincher bugs” or “pinching bugs.” These appendages, which are attached to the insect’s abdomen, are known as cerci. Earwigs are fast runners. They also have two sets of wings, although they rarely fly, and their pincers help them spread out their wings.
What Are the Signs of Earwig Infestation?
You can easily confirm damage caused by earwigs when you notice the following signs.
Earwigs are infamous lawn pests. They also cause serious damage to your garden. The leaves will seem jagged and pocked. Overnight, plants will be ragged, and some leaves will only be eaten partially. Earwig feces, in the form of little black pellets, will most likely be strewn around. Rainy weather drives earwigs to seek dry cover and climb up into plants and foliage, resulting in frequent damage.
Seeing Earwigs Under Pots
Earwigs can be found under the pots of plants that have been damaged.
The damage caused by earwigs resembles that caused by slugs and snails. Look for the telltale signs of slugs and snails to tell the difference: a slimy residue path on the leaves. If there are tiny black droppings instead of slime residue, it is most likely an earwig.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs
There are a variety of natural and chemical treatments for getting rid of or killing pincher bugs in the house and yard. Here are a few different solutions to eliminate earwigs.
Spray with Soap and Water
Pour warm water into a spray bottle and add a few drops of dish soap. Shake the mixture gently and thoroughly until it is soapy. Earwigs can be killed by spraying this mixture on the leaves of your plant, as well as the wet corners of your house or yard where you have seen them. Take this measure whenever you see earwigs in or near your house.
Spray with Alcohol and Water Mixture
Alcohol acts as a surfactant, or wetting agent, that penetrates the earwig’s waxy shell, causing it to disintegrate and killing the bug instantly on contact with the body. Rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) works well and is readily available, but be sure it is free of additives.
Grain alcohol (ethanol) appears to be the most effective. In most stores, alcohol is sold at a 70 percent strength. To prepare an insecticidal spray, combine equal parts 70 percent alcohol and water (or 1 part alcohol to 12 parts water if you are using 95 percent alcohol). Test the spray on a single leaf before putting it on your plants. Wait 24 hours and watch to see whether the plant reacts negatively. If it does, dilute your alcohol solution even more and test again before using it.
Make Oil Pit Traps
Oil pit traps are a fantastic way to get rid of earwigs. In a small plastic container, combine equal parts soy sauce and vegetable oil (olive oil works as well), then seal the top. Punch holes near the lid at the top of the container. Ensure the holes are big enough for the earwigs to fit through. Just up to the holes, bury the container in the earth. The earwigs will be attracted to the soy sauce, and the oil will keep them from fleeing. Change the mixture when necessary.
Sprinkle Boric Acid Powder
Earwigs can be effectively killed with boric acid powder, which is a natural pesticide. Sprinkle the powder around baseboards and other areas where earwigs are prone to creep. Since it can be hazardous to them if they come in contact with it, Keep boric acid powder out of reach of children and pets. It is best to sprinkle the boric acid powder around woodpiles or damp spots in your yard. Earwigs thrive in these areas.
Reach Out to Professional Pest Control
Sometimes you do not have the time and energy to get rid of these pesky bugs. There are also some instances when the earwig infestation is way beyond your control and they keep on reappearing. In such scenarios, it is best to opt for professional pest control services.
The experts have compatible equipment and years of experience. They can easily and efficiently get rid of annoying pests. The best part is that they can permanently remove the earwigs. You get real value for your money when you use their services.
Just make sure to opt for reputable pest control that has positive customer feedback and reviews. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations or in public forums. When you opt for dependable professional pest control, you can rest assured that you will get effective and stellar service. Your house will surely be free of earwigs without you breaking your back.
Earwigs are not a threat when their population is under control. However, whenever their population gets excessive, they start feeding on plants and causing significant damage. To get rid of these annoying pests, start with natural insecticides like boric acid powder. If that isn’t sufficient, turn to professional pest control services.
Click here to read our past blog, Getting Rid of Bed Bugs 101