The Unstoppable Earwig
There’s nothing extra ordinary about the earwig. No super hard shell that keeps pesticides from penetrating, they’re not fast enough to out run even a sleepy eye housewife with a fly swatter and yet it seems you can’t kill these things. In reality it’s not that you don’t smoosh the thing all over your bathroom floor on the bottom of your shoe, it’s dead alright. It is however that with one dead another pops up in its place. Not so much like german roaches mind you but later that day or perhaps even a week later you’ll find another wayward earwig near the spot where his kin earlier lost his life. It is difficult at times to control the earwig let alone achieve zero population in or around your home.
While some insects lay thousands of eggs and that is how their colony size gets so large, earwigs usually only produce one generation per year 50 to 60 eggs at a time. While the earwig is harmless to you and I they can be formidable on other bugs. The female actually protects her nest until they eggs hatch which is quite rare in the insect world. The earwig pincers are a source of fear for most but they are not even powerful enough to cause but a tiny prick. Earwigs do posses fully developed wings but rarely fly. Stories go that the earwig seeks out human ears to crawl in and nest but there is very little truth to the myth. While is does happen that earwigs and other bugs have entered into sleeping peoples ears, it is not something these insects do on purpose in order to lay eggs and bore into your brain.
Earwigs do best in damp situations such as leaf litter or mulch. Home owners oblige this six legged creature by adding more mulch every year on top of old and by constant watering of plants and landscaping that is close to the home. This yearly practice allows the population of the earwig to grow with each new season. Since earwigs survive the winters by hibernating the adults and new born combine to increase the numbers every twelve months. This build up continues until finally the numbers explode and it seems like ‘over night’ a home can be over run.
The drier the area the less you’ll have earwigs and this is why inside populations can’t survive very long. Earwigs are constantly on the move looking for food and it’s usually an opportune crack or open door that earwigs use to get in. They often find their way to the bathroom of a house because of the lure of life giving water. There is no express strategy of the earwig to infest your home. It is mostly the wandering tendencies that eventually lead the earwig inside. As populations get bigger and food competition is tougher or if things dry out a bit you’ll have earwigs on the move looking for a better situation which often leads them inside.
Earwigs are not as able bodied as other insects but find it easy to enter homes through cracks and crevices. Front door thresholds or back sliding glass doors are the most common spot you find earwigs coming in. We often place potted plants near these entries and even put welcome mats out just in front of the doors. All these items collect dampness underneath and offer the nocturnal bug a great place to hide and replenish their much needed moisture. This in turn puts the earwig in close proximity of the main entries and from there it’s only a few inches from them coming into your home. With the repetitive cycles that we the home owner practice every year it’s no wonder the earwig eventually explodes.
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