In the past, this blog has mentioned the common old wives’ tale concerning the insects known as earwigs. Of course, these insects do not crawl into people’s ears, and they certainly don’t plant eggs in any human orifice, then again, anything is possible. While no reputable documented account has ever been found detailing an inner-body earwig infestation, there is no doubt about this insect’s habit of invading homes where they can  become a serious nuisance.

Earwigs are problematic indoor insect pests all over the United States, but they are particularly bothersome in the northeast US. When earwigs enter homes in large numbers they get into everything, including laundry piles, furniture, bedding, cupboards, closets and they will not hesitate to invade kitchen pantries and cupboards. Earwigs are particularly annoying when they are found infesting pantries and cupboards because, unlike many pests of stored food, earwigs are not picky about what they eat. Earwigs have been found consuming sweets, grain products, vegetables fruits and just about any food product that exists.

The insects are also despised by many gardeners, as the ravenous insects devour numerous types of plants that are commonly found in gardens. In some cases, earwig infestations can be handled successfully by homeowners, but in many cases, their indoor presence is far too abundant to eradicate without the help of a pest control professional. However, there are plenty of ways in which residents of the northeast can prevent these creatures from invading their home.

At least 22 earwig species have been documented in all regions of the US, and 12 of these species are not native to North America. The most common earwig pest found in the northeast is commonly known as the European earwig, and this species can even infest homes on the west coast as well. Since earwigs are abundant on residential lawns, it is not surprising to find earwigs within a home, especially during the colder seasons. However, most earwigs access homes when residents bring infested items indoors.

According to experts at the University of Maine Pest Management Office, earwig infestations during the summer months often occur when residents bring second-hand items into their home. For example, boxes taken from yard sales happen to be a common source of earwig infestations, as the insect’s prefer nesting within cardboard. It is also important for residents to avoid leaving household items outdoors overnight, as nocturnal earwigs commonly hitchhike into homes by infesting lawn furniture, clothing, and potted plants. Keeping moisture levels low around your home’s foundation will prevent water-loving earwigs from sneaking indoors through tiny cracks in a home’s foundation. One resident claims that keeping gravel or crushed rocks as a sort of mulch around her home’s foundation effectively put an end to years of repeated earwig infestations.

Have you ever sustained a bite from an earwig?