Earwigs: Unwanted Guests in Your Texas Home (and How to Get Rid of Them)

Earwigs – those creepy-crawlies with pincers for butts – are a common sight in Texas homes. While they’re not exactly dangerous, their presence can be unsettling, to say the least. Here at Home Run Pest & Termite Control, we understand the frustration of earwig infestations. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you identify, manage, and eliminate these unwanted guests from your Texas home.

Earwigs: Unwanted Guests in Your Texas Home (and How to Get Rid of Them)

What Exactly Are Earwigs?

Earwigs are easily recognizable insects with elongated, flattened bodies ranging from ¼ to 1 ¼ inches long. Their most distinctive feature is a pair of pincer-like appendages (called forceps) protruding from their abdomen. These forceps, while scary-looking, are primarily used for defense and vary in size depending on the species and sex of the earwig.

Despite their name, earwigs won’t burrow into your ears. This misconception likely arose from a European folktale. In reality, earwigs are more interested in moist environments and decaying organic matter.

Earwig Habits and Diet

Earwigs are nocturnal insects, meaning they come out to forage at night. Their diet is quite varied, consisting mainly of other insects (both dead and alive), decaying plant material, algae, fungi, and even lichens and mosses. While they are considered beneficial outdoors as they help control other insect populations, earwigs can become a nuisance indoors when they munch on houseplants or leave small holes in your favorite flowers.

Earwigs in Texas Homes: More of a Nuisance Than a Threat

Earwigs are not inherently dangerous to humans. They don’t bite or sting, and the foul-smelling liquid they emit from their scent glands is more of a deterrent than a health hazard. However, their presence can be unpleasant, and their flattened bodies allow them to squeeze through tiny cracks, making them unwelcome houseguests.

How Earwigs Get Inside Your Texas Home

Earwigs are attracted to moisture and tend to migrate indoors during hot, dry periods seeking cooler, more humid environments.  Here are some common ways earwigs enter your home:

  • Cracks and crevices: Earwigs can squeeze through surprisingly small openings around windows, doors, pipes, and foundations.
  • Vents and weep holes: These small openings in brick or stone exteriors can be entry points for earwigs.
  • Damp spaces: Earwigs are drawn to areas with moisture, such as leaky plumbing, basements, and crawl spaces.

Earwig Management: Keeping Them Out and Eliminating Existing Problems

Here at Home Run Pest & Termite Control, we recommend a multi-pronged approach to earwig management:

  • Sanitation: Eliminate potential hiding places around your foundation by removing excess mulch (ideally no more than 2 inches deep) and keeping the grass mowed and weeds trimmed. Address any moisture issues around your foundation, such as leaky faucets or clogged gutters.
  • Exclusion: Seal any cracks or openings around your home’s exterior using caulk or weather stripping. Pay special attention to areas like doors, windows, pipes, and the foundation. For weep holes in brick or stone exteriors, consider using steel wool or copper mesh for sealing.
  • Mechanical methods: Simple traps can be effective in reducing outdoor earwig populations. Create traps using rolled-up newspaper, corrugated cardboard, bamboo tubes, or short pieces of hose. Place these traps near suspected earwig havens and check them regularly, disposing of any captured earwigs.
  • Chemical treatments (last resort): If earwig populations are overwhelming, consider using residual insecticides outdoors. Focus treatment efforts on a 3-5 foot band around the perimeter of your foundation and any nearby flower beds. Early evening application is ideal, as this coincides with earwigs becoming active. Always follow the instructions on the insecticide label carefully and prioritize non-chemical methods whenever possible.

Home Run Pest & Termite Control: Your Partner in Earwig Elimination

Earwigs may be a common sight in Texas, but they don’t have to take over your home. By following these tips and partnering with Home Run Pest & Termite Control, you can effectively manage and eliminate earwig infestations, keeping your Texas home free from these unwanted guests.  Contact us today for a free consultation and let our experienced professionals develop a customized earwig control plan for your property.

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