What Are Earwigs?
Earwigs are scurrying elongated insects with rear pinchers. Here's how to spot them and how to control them.
What is it?
This internal insect can me found in the home in a variety of species including the ringlegged earwig also known as euborellia annulipes or the striped earwig, labidura riparia. The European earwig, or forficula auricularia is another common species. They feed on decaying organic matter, mosses, vegetation and other insects. Other than their presence in the home being annoying, they do not do damage beyond occasionally feeding on stored foods or a quick painful but otherwise harmless pinch when provoked.
What does it look like?
They are flat and elongated insects which are reddish or brown in color. They can be up to an inch long. Earwigs have long straight or curved rear pincers. You will often find them in the dark secluded areas of your home.
How does it manifest?
Large numbers of earwigs may invade the home in periods of dry, hot weather seeking dark areas of the home. They come in through cracks and openings in foundations, doors and window screens. You will find them in secluded places like drawers, pantries, closets, and occasionally bedding. Often they can be seen scurry between rooms along baseboards or mouldings.
What can you do about it?
Your best bet is to repair and cracks or openings in the foundation of your home, the screens or doors. Store food in sealed containers to prevent damage in the event earwigs infest the home. You can control infestations indoors by dusting with a chlorpyrifos containing chemical or by using a bait containing propoxur. Always follow label directions carefully and take necessary precautions when using such chemical preparations. To prevent reinfestations, treat earwigs outdoors with a diazinon containing insecticide.