What Are Earwigs And How to Spot Them?

An earwing on a flower

You’ve probably heard the legend of how earwigs got their name. The small, flat bug is rumored to burrow deep within people’s ears. There they supposedly lay eggs on human brains, eventually hatching to spill out the ears and consume zombie-like levels of brain matter. If that sounds too scary to be true… It is. Earwigs, contrary to their dramatic backstory, are rarely harmful to humans. They are, however, a common pest for both inside and outside the average Las Vegas home. Fortunately, earwigs are easy to spot! Read on for more information about where to find these critters.

What Is An Earwig?

One thing which makes earwigs easy to spot is their distinguished appearance. Their bodies are dark-colored, elongated, and average about ¼ inch long (though some can get bigger). What sets earwigs apart from silverfish is their pincers; two long pincers extend from the back of the earwig’s abdomen, making them look much scarier than they are. Those forceps-like pincers are used for self-defense. All earwigs share the same general features, but there are over 20 different species found in the United States alone! They do prefer living in large groups, so if you see one don’t hesitate to call your trusted pest control company for help.

Looking For Earwigs In All The Right Places

Earwigs are omnivorous (eating both plant and animal matter, such as other bugs) so they can be found just as easily outside the home as inside. They prefer dark, moist areas and are particularly fond of areas with a lot of plants. This can be a plus or a negative, depending on how you look at it. If there are enough other bugs in the garden, expect the earwigs to pick them off. Should there be a shortage of critters to eat they will turn to your leafy greens for dinner. This can be a big pain for avid gardeners! Even if you prefer faux plants, don’t think you’re out of the woods quite yet. Earwigs have also been known to invade pantries, bathrooms, and under the sink. Anywhere dark, humid, and with food is a comfortable place for an earwig to settle in!

Symptoms of Earwig Infestations

The easiest way to spot an earwig infestation is by simply looking. Unlike cockroaches, earwigs aren’t particularly good at hiding. They love bathrooms and are often spotted crawling out of the drains. Since they’re dark they show up easily on traditionally light surfaces such as sinks and bathtubs. An unusually high amount of earwigs in a single area can indicate water damage, as they love the humidity. Any spots where you suspect water’s leaking are likely to attract earwigs. It’s very rare but not unknown that earwig infestations are spotted through pinches on human skin. The bugs tend to only pinch when they feel threatened, but if you notice small, swollen marks a quarter-inch apart on your skin there’s a small chance it could be earwigs. No need to call 911! Earwigs are not venomous.

How to Get Rid of Earwigs

The good news: earwigs are harmless to humans. The bad news: they can multiply incredibly quickly. Spotting an earwig infestation before they begin to nest is the best way to prevent it from being a major problem. Keep an eye out in moist areas, like around the foundation of your house or the bathroom. If you spot one earwig now and then, you’re probably okay to just smush it yourself and move on. More than one is indicative of a problem and should be handled by a trusted pest control company. For more tips on how to spot earwigs and other related pests please contact Dr. Death Pest Control.

Currently only servicing Henderson and Boulder City.

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