So, why are earwigs becoming a greater threat?
These infestations can be directly attributed to the excessive heat and low moisture outside. These drought conditions are forcing the earwigs to look inside of homes and buildings looking for water to just survive. In the last two months, earwigs complaints have gone up more than two times our usual amount for this time of year.
There are around 2,000 species of earwigs, most of which are nocturnal, hiding in small, dark, and moist areas during the day. At night time, earwigs are most active, feeding on different types of insects and plants and often causing damage to your flowers, foliage, and crops. During the summer, especially, you can find earwigs around moist areas like sinks and bathrooms.
There are a few things you can do that might help control these pests. The first step in preventing or getting rid of earwigs is to eliminate the environment they thrive in. Earwigs love moisture, so this means keeping areas as dry as possible. Try to seal off the entry points to the best of your ability. Remember, these earwigs are desperate and trying to escape the hot conditions and lack of rain! Create a dry, clean border to prevent earwigs from entering.
You can hook up a dehumidifier to your HVAC system if the humidity level in your home or business property is high. If you have mulch outdoors, try not to let it absorb too much moisture, or layer it too heavily.
Do your best to eliminate earwig hiding places outdoors by pruning low-growing bushes, monitoring the plants you grow, and avoiding over-watering. If you find evidence of earwigs eating your plants, check the plants during night time, when earwigs are most active. Check around the flower bed and in areas where the earwigs might be hiding.
You should be on the lookout for these pests, as they can be quite destructive. If you have a well with a loose-fitting cap, it provides the perfect place for earwigs to hide during the day: damp and dark. Earwigs can fall into the well water, drown and decay, possibly contaminating the well with bacteria. Prevent this from happening by replacing loose-fitting caps on your well.
Earwigs can also damage plant leaves when they eat small holes in them at night time. Flowering plants and seedlings, especially, can be damaged or killed by earwigs, while larger plants seem to tolerate the pests.
If you are still having problems with earwigs, contact a professional at a pest management company immediately.
Dave Kusnierek is the area service manager and associate certified entomologist at Batzner Pest Management in New Berlin. For more information, visit www.batzner.com.