Creepy, but Harmless: How To Manage Earwig Invasion

(Mankato, MN) – During the summer time, one of the most common insect calls that comes into the local University of Minnesota Extension Office has to do with that ugly and menacing-looking creature, the earwig.

Extension Educator Diane DeWitte says the European Earwig has been in the US for a century, but didn’t arrive in Minnesota until the early 1990s. She says they’re not much different from many other insects, but what makes them the most creepy is the pair of pinchers on the tip of their abdomen.

DeWitte says while earwigs can grab onto objects with the pinchers, they can’t get a good grip, and they are harmless to humans.

Earwigs mate in the fall and spend the winter together in a nest. In spring, females force the males out and lay eggs. Eggs hatch within the week and young earwigs mature during June and become adults during late June and early July.

To eliminate earwigs, University of Minnesota entomologists recommend these non-chemical ways:

Place old tuna fish cans filled with fish oil or vegetable oil in the outside areas where you see earwigs. Set them out in the evening; Earwigs are most active at night. In the morning, dump the cans into a pail of soapy water to kill the earwigs.

Reducing the amount of moisture in landscaping will also disrupt the earwigs’ habitat, so make sure that landscaping is not over-watered and is allowed to dry before the next watering.

Another recommendation is to caulk or repair crevices or gaps where earwigs could enter one’s home.

Earwigs can come inside in large numbers. If that’s the case Dewitte says the best way to eliminate them is to remove them with a vacuum or broom & dustpan.

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