Earwig Infestations

Large-scale earwig infestations are very rare.  Earwigs do not have a queen, nor do they live in a colony.  However, earwigs are large and have fearsome looking pincers, making their presence seem more threatening than other insects.  Do not panic when earwigs are seen in the house.  Their pincers are too weak to puncture skin, and they pose no direct physical threat to humans.

When several earwigs are seen in a localized area, it is because the area provides a good habitat and plenty of food for earwigs.  These insects do not find shelter by burrowing in the ground.  Instead, earwigs find damp covered areas, such as beneath rocks, under logs, and inside piles of leaves.  The body of an earwig is very flexible, allowing it to squirm into tight areas while looking for shelter.  If several earwigs are in an area, remove their preferred hiding places.  Dark and damp basements can also attract an earwig infestation.  If your basement is infested with earwigs, improve lighting, clean up standing water, and use a dehumidifier.  Glue traps are also a good way to kill earwigs.

An excess of food can also attract several earwigs at once.  Dead plant material is the preferred food source for these insects.  Yards full of mulch, compost, leaves, and dead plants provide a large food supply, leading to an earwig infestation.  When earwigs run out of dead plant material, they begin eating live plants and small insects.  An infestation of earwigs can quickly destroy a garden.  Keeping a yard and home free of dead vegetation and other insects is the best way to prevent or remove earwig infestations.  Pesticides are also available that provide a protective perimeter around the home.