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 the species 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 pincers. Earwigs are both plant and insect eaters. In fact, they will eat just about anything.
EARWIG DAMAGE ^
Earwigs love plants. And in particular, vegetables. When they feed, their damage will be consistent and significant.
Plant damage looks 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 its most common to find small irregular holes, earwigs will readily eat all of the “meat” of a leaf starting at one edge and essentially devouring it row by row like a caterpillar.
Earwigs will feed as predatory insects but will also 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 structure too. 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 exteriors. Once established in the mulch beds and flower beds around your home, earwigs will soon find their way inside.
EARWIG BIOLOGY ^
Earwigs are active year round. They’re super hardy and can do well even in the cold. 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.
Earwig 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 plants looking for new 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 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 inside. Since they can eat just about anything, earwigs can successfully nest in sections of the home which may be warm the whole year.
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 INVASION ^
Earwigs typically become a “noticeable pest” 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 on items we bring inside.
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.
EARWIG SPRAY FOR THE HOME AND GARDEN
When treating for earwigs, the best approach is to protect all areas both inside and outside the structure. Outside areas earwigs will target include foundation walls, other points of entry like windows and doors and around AC condensers.
In the home they’ll gravitate to baseboards, cabinets, under area rugs, basements and crawlspaces. To control an active problem in the home, you’ll generally want to spray all areas with activity using a liquid residual and crack and crevice aerosol.
BEST SPRAY FOR EARWIGS IN THE HOME ^
So for the baseboards in the home, get our BITHOR. Mixed at the rate of 1 oz per gallon of water per 1,000 sq/ft will usually solve most any problem. Be sure to coat all baseboards, under furniture and along every edge of carpet. Pay particular attention to the bottom side of place mats and area rugs as well as the space under refrigerators and dish washers.
Bithor is odorless, fast acting and works great on earwigs. In most cases a single application will knock them out and if you spray every 2-3 months, they won’t come back.
You’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER to apply Bithor and you’ll want to treat the entire inside and outside perimeter of the home.
Pay particular attention to the outside foundation and entry points. Treat around windows, doorways, garages, crawl space entrances, pipe entrances, vents, AC areas and water spigots.
If you have areas where you can’t liquid spray, use FS MP AEROSOL. This product comes with a small straw like tube injector so you can make precise applications without making a mess. FS MP uses an ingredient very active on earwigs. It will kill them quickly and treatments will last several weeks.
EARWIG TRAPS ^
For sensitive areas or if you have places where earwigs are ever persistent and you need some extra help knocking them out, place EARWIG GLUE TRAPS on countertops or along baseboards where they’ve been seen. Since earwigs love to eat dead insects (especially roaches), they’ll readily find these traps which use insect pheromones as lure. Once earwigs enter, they cannot escape.
These traps are designed to be separated into 3 smaller traps making them an ideal size for earwigs. Each “set” comes with 15 large traps (45 small traps) along with a bag of “lure pellets” used by sprinkling them out over the glue of the trap. Next, set the trap out and let it sit to collect foraging earwigs.
GARDEN SAFE EARWIG SPRAY ^
For vegetable gardens, the selection of good products narrows but we have two good choices. VEGETABLES PLUS is a permethrin concentrate labeled for use on fruit and vegetable bearing plants. It will both kill and repel earwigs so they won’t be able to eat treated foliage. Veg Plus has 7-14 days to harvest and treatments will last at least that long too.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 oz per gallon of water and plan on getting 500 sq/ft of coverage of plant foliage per mixed gallon of spray.
ORGANIC GARDEN SPRAY ^
For organic gardeners, MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER is a good choice. This concentrate has just 1 day to harvest but its plenty strong to handle strong pests like earwigs. Be sure to spray the main stem of the plants you want to protect along with the ground of the garden. Earwigs will typically nest in the ground just under plants they target. So if you’re finding damage to the leaves on your favorite garden vegetable, spray the plant and the surrounding area heavy to ensure you get the guilty pest.
Mix 6 oz of Multipurpose Killer with 1 gallon of water and expect to get 500-800 sq/ft of coverage per gallon. Repeat every 2 weeks to keep target pests under control.
EARWIG GRANULES FOR THE YARD ^
For bad infestations distributed over the yard, we recommend applying MAXXTHOR GRANULES to as much of the turf as possible. Maxxthor won’t work quickly like Bithor but its more time released and generally lasts a log longer. This could prove important when nesting earwigs are living under thatch or dead grass clippings and coming from the yard.
Maxxthor is long lasting but it will need to be watered in too activate the chemical.
First, use a good fertilizer spreader or SCATTER BOX. to distribute the granules over the yard. Apply 1.5 lbs per 1,000 sq/ft of turf. Maxxthor is safe enough to be spread over pine straw, flower beds, wood chips, any kind of grass and around trees. The granules are fine, like wheat germ, and when applied properly won’t be detectable or easy to see.
Once applied, use your garden hose or your irrigation system to get them active. A good rain will also work. Reapply them every 3 months to keep most all perimeter pests in check and out of the yard.
Use your lawn fertilize spreader to apply the granules or a good hand held spreader like this one. It features a hopper that can hold almost 2 lbs of product and is well suited when treating over flower beds and other tight areas hard to navigate with a push spreader.
Lastly, if you’re only concern is for outside the home, treat get our MAXXTHOR EC over the Bithor. Maxxthor EC is super aggressive and super repellent. When applied over the granules, you’ll kill everything where you spray and nothing will come back. But its not for inside the home, just outside. Mix 1 oz per gallon of water and apply it over the Maxxthor Granules after you apply them for a “1-2 punch” that will knock out any pest you have around the foundation.
CONTACT US ^
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