Earwig Control and About Earwigs

It is ubiquitous to find an earwig hiding in the most peculiar places when working in the yard. They are pretty alien looking at first glances, and their pincher adds a bad flare. Unfortunately, earwigs can sneak into tiny places around the inside of your home and make it their own. Therefore, when earwigs make first appearances, it is best to get an earwig control program going around your home.

Earwigs do not live among us here in Oregon without a bit of an interesting background. First, there are no native Oregon species of earwigs, which shows their resilience in survival. There is also an old myth that states earwigs crawl inside your ear at night, but this has no proof. Regardless, you do not want to share your home with earwigs for many reasons aside from old folklore.

Earwig Life Cycle

The life of an earwig, like many other insects, is exciting and often not entirely long-lasting. Earwigs must go through four to six molts or instar before becoming mature adults. The average earwig only lives for about a year after hatching its eggs. Female earwigs will lay roughly fifty eggs simultaneously, typically in moist, hidden areas like wet leaves or cracks.

After only about a week, the eggs will hatch, and the newborns will move into their nymph phase. In the fall, males and females will find each other, mate, and live together throughout the winter. The following spring, the female will kick the male out of the nest and lay her eggs.

Common Earwigs in Oregon

Finding an earwig in Oregon is not uncommon because the climate conditions that the state provides are perfect for them. Earwigs thrive in damp, moisture-rich environments, typically under foliage like mulch. Interestingly enough, though, there are no native earwigs in Oregon, so every encounter is with a species that originated elsewhere. There are two main earwigs in Oregon, European and Maritime earwigs.

earwig climbing upside down to eat a flower

European Earwigs

The European earwig is the most common earwig that most of us will encounter living in Oregon. They came from eastern Europe, spreading across Asia until eventually landing in Oregon in 1909. European earwigs are detrimental to vegetation and gardens despite eating other insects.

marine earwig long and black body

Maritime Earwigs

The Maritime earwig is unique because they prefer to live close to the coasts. They will actively hunt and live in colder conditions that most other insects cannot tolerate.

An Earwig’s Appetite

Earwigs are omnivores meaning they eat both plants and meat products. They have a broad palette that consists of the most softer fruits and vegetables to decaying meats. They are also active hunters seeking out other insects like sowbugs, mites, aphids, and other insect eggs.

pinchers sticking out from flower

Will Earwigs Damage My Garden?

Earwig control in your garden can be a double-edged sword because they are mutually beneficial and detrimental. Earwigs are active hunters and help maintain population control of other harmful pests like aphids. However, earwigs will cause damage to vegetables that are easier to eat, like greens, potatoes, and radishes.

earwig chewing on wood

Can Earwigs Eat Wood?

Even though they have such a wide range of items they will eat, they are not wood-destroying insects like termites. Furthermore, there has been no documentation that leads to earwigs damaging the wood of any variety.

Pest Threat Level 5/10

earwig

Dangers of Earwig Activity

Earwigs have no place making your home theirs for a slew of reasons. However, they can be beneficial for mainly one reason: to help maintain certain pest activities. By in large, though, these pests are easily kept with quality earwig control in addition to many other insects.

There are other risks involved with allowing earwigs inside your home, such as:

  • Earwig infestations- One or two earwigs may not seem like a bother, but they have quick breeding cycles. As a result, your home is prone to a massive infestation of earwigs flooding your home by the possible hundreds.
  • Get inside food storages- Earwigs not only eat plants, meats, and other decaying organisms, but they also will enjoy your pantry. They will eat food inside your pantry if it is easily accessible.
  • Signs of more significant problems- Even with earwig control seeing earwigs around your home could mean more essential issues like water/mold damage.
earwig with pinchers up to defend

Earwig Hangout Spots

Finding earwig harborage areas is the first step in the earwig control process. When looking for earwigs around your home, it is best to start outside and work your way inside. Prioritizing the exterior allows you to be strategic with your findings and save time by finding major harborage points first.

Exterior Harborage Points:

  • Under leaf piles
  • Under mulch
  • Check near cement slabs that have holes leading under
  • Inside and around garden beds
  • Inside plant pots (specifically ones indicating damage)
  • Woodpiles
  • Compost piles/bins
  • Crawlspace vent/entry
  • Near any standing water
  • Behind/under any piles of garbage/cardboard boxes/etc.
  • Near HVAC systems like air conditioners

Interior Harborage Points:

  • Under sinks
  • Behind toilets
  • Inside shower/tubs
  • Storage spaces like attics or basements that are isolated
  • Any interior potted plants
  • Water heaters
  • Other plumbing lines
  • Near any water leaks/moisture-rich areas
  • Crawlspaces

Obtaining Earwig Control

For the most part, needs to get as much control over earwigs inside and outside your home. The biggest issue earwigs can cause is detrimental damage to plants and gardens overall. Though earwigs are not necessarily direct human issues, the pests that hunt them pose more significant threats. In addition, earwigs have natural predators, which will quickly lead to other harmful insects turning up around your home.

When you are ready to ensure your home and garden stay earwig-free, contact Prime Pest Solutions. Our team of certified experts will not only treat affected areas but show you how to decrease earwig populations. The Prime Pest is full of members from your community who know exactly how to control local pest populations. Contact us today to get more details on our earwig control process and our quarterly pest control services!

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