Earwigs have been a cosmopolitan pest for many years in the United States. There are over ten species in America, but four are most common and likely to invade homes. These include the European, the Shore, the Ring Legged and the Seaside Earwig. Some of these have wings, some have stripes on their abdomens, some are dark brown, but all have pinchers. Earwigs are both plant and insect eaters. In fact, they will eat just about anything.
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Plant damage looks much like slug damage; the main difference is that slugs will leave a slimy trail behind where earwigs leave no foot prints. Plant damage can be extreme. Although it is most common to find small irregular holes, earwigs will readily eat all of the “meat” of a leaf leaving only a skeleton frame behind. Earwigs also like insects. Though they may feed as predatory insects, earwigs will readily eat dead insects, algae and vegetation. Since they eat so many different food items, earwigs may find a home and food just about anywhere. It is not unlikely to find them around any type of home. However, unlike ants or termites, earwigs will readily establish themselves in the roof, the attic, the basement or the crawlspace. Although some species can fly, most find there way into homes by walking up the side of untreated homes. Once established in the mulch beds and flower beds around your home, earwigs will soon find their way inside.
Earwigs are active year round. Although they may find shelter under rocks and other ground cover during winter months, only freezing temperatures and ice seem to stop them from daily foraging and activity. Eggs are usually laid in the late fall/early winter. Females will lay 30-50 and generally have one brood a year. However, in warmer climates, she may have two. The eggs will hatch in about 2-3 months and the first instar of development will spend much of it’s time feeding on the food mother brings home. Within a month, the first instar will enter it’s second stage of development which is when they become a lot more venturesome.
EARWIG LIFE CYCLE
By early summer, they will be fully mature and ready to migrate away to neighboring nest sites. This is usually around June, July and August. Although the summer months are when you most likely may see invading earwigs, it is important to understand that they may be active year round. If you are seeing them in living areas of the home during cold winter months, it is because they have established themselves somewhere in the home. Since they can eat just about anything, earwigs can successfully nest in sections of the home which may be warm the whole year.
Earwigs become noticed when they start to invade. Homeowners will find them in basements, garages, Jacuzzi’s, bathrooms and just about any part of the home. Earwigs like it moist and prefer dark areas. Basements and crawl spaces provide great nest locations, but because people store many boxes and other items in these environments, earwigs find their way into homes by hitching a ride. Once in the home, earwigs will take advantage of any object which is set on the ground. Such locations are prime nest sites and slab homes seem to be particularly vulnerable. Since the slab will readily absorb moisture, earwigs are able to nest under carpet and find food by emerging and foraging as needed.
EARWIGS IN EAR
Old wives tales tell of earwigs finding there way into the ears of sleeping people only to cause fever and insanity. Such tales are far fetched but earwigs have been found to crawl into any vacant cavity they can find. They love small holes, cracks and crevices. Such invasions won’t lead to insanity, but their pinchers will hurt when they grip you and it is more likely they will find their way into your shoes than your ear!
EARWIG SPRAY FOR THE HOME
Controlling earwigs is done based on the type of infestation you have. Mild invasions and activity levels can be controlled with a product called ESFENVALERATE. This is a no/low odor liquid concentrate which is mixed with water and applied with a SPRAYER.
Solo 454 Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/solo-1-gallon-sprayer
Treat all the way around the foundation both inside and outside. Pay particular attention to the outside. Treat around windows, doorways, garages, crawl space entrances, pipe entrances, vents, AC areas and water spigots. Esfenvalerate is easy to work with since it is odorless. Treat inside along baseboards where you are seeing them. In most cases, they will live along cracks and crevices where carpeting meets the wall or under boxes, crates, benches and other hard to move solid items. Spray these areas so that as the earwigs emerge seeking food, they will find the Esfenvalerate. The residual is good for up to a month and will provide control of mild infestations.
EARWIG GARDEN SAFE SPRAY
For vegetable gardens, the selection of good products narrows but we have a couple of good choices. VEGETABLES PLUS is a permethrin concentrate thats labeled for use on fruit and vegetable bearing plants and will provide a good 7-14 days of residual.
Vegetables Plus Perm: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
ORGANIC GARDEN SPRAY
And for organic gardeners, 3-In-1 CONCENTRATE or MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER are good choices. These products can be used daily if need be but with earwigs, treatments will usually last 1-2 weeks. Be sure to spray the main stem of the plants you want to protect along with the ground. Earwigs will typically nest in the ground just under plants they target for food. So if you’re finding damage in your garden, spray the plant and the surrounding area under all affected plants to insure you get the guilty pest.
Organic Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz
EARWIG AEROSOL FOR CRACKS AND CREVICES
If you have hard to spray areas which have a lot of seams and areas where the earwigs may be nesting, use our DFORCE AEROSOL. This material is very active on earwigs. It comes with a tube for precise application and dries clear. It will penetrate hard to reach areas and provide quick knockdown of active earwigs as well as flush them out of hiding.
Dforce Aerosol is also convenient to use in between liquid treatments. It is ready to spray so that any seen can be treated immediately without having to mix up a tank of Esfenvalerate. Remember, Dforce Aerosol is designed for quick control and limited areas to treat. Esfenvalerate is for bigger areas.
For sensitive areas or if you have places where earwigs are persistent, set out some EARWIG TRAPS. These round plastic traps use a food lure as attractant and have several small holes through which earwigs like to enter. Bait them as the directions detail using one of the food types listed. Soy sauce works well so use it if you have some.
These traps can be used safely in food and dish cabinets but are also ideal for outside applications – particularly at the base of any garden vegetable – since earwigs love to munch on our summertime fruits and vegetables. Be sure to clean and rebait traps every 1-2 months – especially during the warm season.
We also have EARWIG GLUE TRAPS that use a special insect lure mostly comprised of roaches which do well at catching earwigs. Since earwigs love to eat dead insects (especially roaches), they’ll readily find these traps and once they enter, they cannot escape. These traps are designed to be separated into 3 smaller traps making them an ideal size for earwigs.
For more severe infestations, you will need to address nest locations directly and won’t get control using just traps. This may mean having to treat outside and/or inside.
EARWIG GRANULES FOR THE YARD
For bad infestations, we recommend applying BIFEN GRANULES as well. Bifen G won’t work quickly like Esfenvalerate,but it is more time released and generally lasts 2-3 months. This could prove important when wanting to insure that you are getting the first stage which hatches from the egg. Bifen needs to be watered to activate it and it is important to apply it in a uniform fashion. This can be done with a fertilizer spreader or a SCATTER BOX. Be sure to get good coverage over flower bed areas, mulch islands and turf. Although it is usually not needed to treat the entire yard, the more of a “barrier” you have around the home, the less activity you will have coming into the home.
If you feel you need to use both Bifen and Esfenvalerate, spread the Bifen first and then spray the Esfenvalerate. This will provide the very best results since the water from the Esfenvalerate will get the Bifen to start releasing. By the time the Esfenvalerate is wearing off, usually in a couple of weeks, the Bifen should be releasing enough to begin to take effect.
EARWIG CONTROL DUST
If you believe the nests are located in the crawl space or attic of the home, it will not be practical to spray Esfenvalerate in such areas. Use PYGANIC DUST for these areas. Pyganic dust is odorless, lasts a long time and works quickly. Most importantly, it is very active on earwigs. Apply it with a DUSTIN MIZER. This tool lets you blow the dust out 25-30 feet to hard to reach areas of remote crawl spaces and attics. When properly dusted, attics and crawl spaces won’t be able to house nest seeking earwigs. Pyganic Dust also works well on several other pests so it will help control any perimeter invader you may have had problems controlling.
Once under control, simply treat the yard once a year and spray your foundation every month to be sure no more come back. Earwigs can be a nasty, smelly insect when they invade your home. Esfenvalerate and Dforce will control mild infestations; Esfenvalerate and Bifen Granules will control large levels outside. If they are established inside crawl spaces or attics, Pyganic Dust will be needed.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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