Have you noticed a strange-looking insect species crawling around your home this fall? Every year, our technicians at Johnson Pest Control hear reports of weird, skinny bugs with pincers on their rears creeping out our customers in Eastern TN. If this sounds like you, you’re probably wondering: what are these bugs, and why are they on my property? If you are, read on to learn!
Earwigs: What are They?
If you’re noticing bugs that are 1/4” to 1” in length with long antennae, dark brown to black midsections, and big pincers on the ends of their bodies, you’re dealing with earwigs. Their name sounds creepy, and indeed, it comes from unsettling origins. Earwigs are named as such because of an old myth saying that they would crawl into the ears of sleeping people to bore inside their brains. This, of course, is untrue, but the name sticks around to keep us on our toes.
Earwigs live wherever they have easy access to plant and animal matter. They are not picky—earwigs will eat all sorts of things, including:
- Leaves and flowers
- Aphids, flies, and other small insects that they can capture in their pincers
Some people worry that earwigs can poison them with their pincers. In reality, earwig pinches aren’t poisonous, and shouldn’t even break your skin. They will hurt a bit, though, and they do use this as a defense mechanism to ward off would-be predators.
Need Help Identifying Earwigs?
How to Get Rid of Earwigs
You might have earwigs without even knowing that they’re around. Earwigs are especially attracted to homes with gardens or lots of vegetation, so you might find jagged and holey leaves all over your yard along with small, black pellets of earwig excrement.
If you’re seeing them inside your home, do not squish them. They leave behind an odorous residue that is quite unpleasant to smell and clean up. Instead, try these strategies to get rid of earwigs:
- Spread petroleum jelly at the base of infested plants. Earwigs won’t crawl on it.
- You can spray insecticides on your plants to ward earwigs off, but make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label.
- Diatomaceous earth can be spread around plants to stop earwigs, but only in dry weather.
- Lay sections of bamboo or garden hose between the plants in your garden to function as barriers or traps to crawl into.
- Make sure you check everything that you bring inside from outdoors for earwigs.
Are Your Earwigs Getting Out of Hand?
If you are dealing with excessive earwigs around your home in Eastern TN, reach out to your local pest control company. Our technicians at Johnson Pest Control can help you identify the source of your infestation and put a plan in place to bring it to a swift stop. For more information on our services or a free quote, contact us today!