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Halloween In August: All About Earwigs

August 7, 2014

Living in South Florida, you have most likely seen this terrifying-looking creepy crawler.  Unsettled by its abdomen pincers?  You’re not alone.  In fact, there’s an old myth about earwigs that they like to use those pincers to crawl into your ears and bore into your brain; hence the name.

But I will leave the scares at that, since it’s only August and say that the old myth is completely FALSE. Earwigs are NOT a danger to us whatsoever.  In fact, the closest to being disturbing that an earwig gets is that it may emit a foul odor when attacked.  That’s enough for me to stay away.  So what can you do if you find one of these guys in your home?  Get creative!  A broom and dustpan, vacuum cleaner, plastic cup and paper, etc.  Earwigs do no damage to the house so don’t freak out too much.  Politely escort it out of your home; if that’s your style.  Whatever you decide to do, just don’t pick it up with your hands.  They can still pinch!

Earwigs are typically nocturnal and hide under small, dark spaces during the day.  They are considered scavengers, feeding on scraps or dead insects; mostly armyworms, aphids, mites, and scales.  The females tend to be smaller and lighter in color than the males.  Striped earwigs are dark brown with tan markings.  They are found in sandy or clay soils and live in burrows.  They are mostly found outdoors but will sometimes wander indoors in search of food or a better living situation if outdoors is overpopulated or the weather is too severe.  At night, they will search for food around light sources like streetlights and windows.

The female lays about 50 eggs in a burrow in the soil and takes about a week for the nymphs to hatch.  The female will groom and take care of her young, allowing them to feed on their egg case.  In another week, the newly hatched nymphs will molt into their second stage and at this point, the female loses its maternal instincts and will oftentimes eat her young before they can escape.  The nymphs that survive learn a little something from their mothers and develop a cannibalistic tendency until fully grown after five more nymphal stages.  This cycle typically takes around 56 days.

Maybe at this point, you’re thinking that to ‘politely escort’ these insects out of your home is completely undeserved on the earwig’s part. There are always other options.

How do we as homeowners control earwigs from entering our homes and scaring our children?  Be proactive by implementing the following practices:

  • Check your potted plants before bringing them into your home.


  • Limit their harborages by removing piles of rubbish in your yard.


  • Set up a pit-trap in your yard by burying an empty can and placing a bait inside.

These are all good home remedies, but if you are serious about keeping the earwigs away, contact your friendly pest control experts here at Nozzle Nolen for a free pest control inspection. Pest control services include broadcast treatments, barrier treatments, and spot treatments to control earwigs from entering your home.  Dangerous or not, there’s no denying that earwigs sure are creepy, and since Halloween is a few months away, it’s better to take care of them today.


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