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Although earwigs are typically considered nothing more than a nuisance insect by most homeowners, they are quite misunderstood. You’ve probably already heard many speculations and assumptions about the insect growing up. One of the most touted misconceptions regarding the earwig is that they can get into your ears and burrow into your brain. Sounds like something out of a 1950s science-fiction novel, right? Well, that’s what it is! It is nothing more than pure fiction.
Despite all this, earwigs are not a nuisance you want hanging around your home. Their very presence could indicate bigger problems. Here’s what you need to know about this nuisance pest.
The Earwig Threat
The first and best place to start is with the threat the pest poses. Indeed, you don’t need to worry about the insect digging into your ear and burrowing into your brain. However, they don’t mean they don’t pose potential problems. This is especially true for your plants. Some species of earwigs are known for causing extensive damage to delicate blooms and plants.
Along with this, the insect does possess a mandible or pair of pinchers that it will use. While it mostly only uses these devices as a defense mechanism, they have been known to pinch a human or two. The incidents are extremely rare, but you can find them. If pinched, it will cause minor abrasions and might even lead to skin irritations.
Identifying The Earwig
Before one can start properly tackling and eliminating any insect in their home, they must know what they are dealing with. Unfortunately, earwigs aren’t as easily identifiable as cockroaches, wasps, or ants, but with the right information, you can quickly and accurately identify these nuisance insects. Earwigs are long, flat, and wriggly-looking little insects. They are commonly referred to as creepy-crawlies not only because they have six legs, but because their preferred method of travel is crawling.
You won’t likely find or see earwigs leaping, jumping, or flying from plant to plant while feeding. They typically only crawl, but their six legs give them adept abilities. That said, the creepy crawler does possess the talent of flight if it chooses. Despite all this, it is their cerci or pinchers that make them most identifiable.
What Are Cerci?
Commonly or scientifically referred to as the cerci, are the pinchers of the earwigs. This mandible-like device is located on the earwig’s abdomen or stomach region. Although this unique device can be utilized in a variety of ways, it is mostly only for defense and feeding. The males of the species can more easily be identified by their curvier cerci, whereas the female’s pinchers are straighter.
Some species of the earwig will use their cerci to help unfold their forewings.
Properly Addressing Earwig Issues
Earwigs can give off an intimidating presence, although they don’t pose much of a threat. With that in mind, their very presence could mean that you are secretly dealing with other underlying issues. To start, their presence in the home obviously indicates openings on the outside of the home that need to be taken care of. However, potentially more problematic than the outside openings is the presence of moisture.
If you do find earwigs in your home or building, you will likely only locate them in areas where moisture is or can be a problem. Crawl spaces, basements, bathrooms, and closets are all potential. Moisture attracts insects and bugs of all kinds, not just earwigs. There are many steps that can be taken to address moisture problems but addressing them immediately, you will need to do.
The best place to start is by trying to uncover why you are experiencing moisture problems in the first place. Is it standing water, leaky pipes, or too much humidity? Tackle this problem, seal around all minor and major outside openings, and you’ll eliminate your insect problems.