This earwig is considered an occasional invader in our trade. The name of this insect came from an old superstition that states earwigs will enter the ears of a sleeping person and bore into the brain. They have these forceps like cerci that they use as offensive and defensive weapons. They’re also used at times to capture prey.
Earwigs feed on live and dead insects and on plants. They can damage fruits and vegetables when feeding on them. They’re active at nighttime and develop by incomplete metamorphosis. They can climb and are often found in large numbers of clusters. When crushed or disturbed they can emit a foul odor and sometimes they can squirt a substance out defensively. They can be found anywhere there’s a moist shaded spot and usually underneath something such as a woodpile, leaf pile, etc. Earwigs love birdseed found on the ground and will often be found clustered on the inside and underside of bird feeders. On houses – earwigs love a shake-sided house or a shake roof.
A professional pressure wash and sealing of shake-sided houses or roofs can be done to remove existing earwigs. After that’s done – a professional painter or another similar pro should be used to do a good water sealing of the shakes. The shakes should then be maintained by water sealing again every other year. In the structure or home, vacuuming of earwigs at door frames or where they are seen is recommended. Door sweeps (bristle type sweeps are best) on exterior doors with gaps at the bottom should be considered. Glue traps placed to either side of exterior doors will help collect earwigs trying to get inside.
Earwigs often do not thrive inside the home for long periods. Keeping the grass mowed and weeds from growing on the side of the structure would help reduce harborage for earwigs. Sealing of gaps 1/8″ or larger should be done as much as possible on the exterior of the home or structure – particularly at window and door frames. In situations with large numbers of earwigs, a professional pest control tech should be consulted. Liquid residual insecticide applications appropriately labeled for use in that particular situation would be used. Granular baits work well too.