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Earwigs are causing quite a stir in the Midwest. Your neighbors have been calling Plunkett’s Pest Control to deal with the nuisance pest. But despite popular myths, there’s little chance an earwig will feed on your brains as you sleep. In fact, there’s virtually no chance at all! Derived from an early Anglo-Saxon word meaning “ear creature,” earwigs were thought to cause such disruptions in ancient times. The folklore that surrounded earwigs eventually simmered down, and the creatures are believed to have gotten their name because of the way they look when their wings spread out — similar to a human ear. Nevertheless, earwigs, or “pincher bugs,” have become quite a sight in the Midwest this summer. Here’s what you need to know:

What are earwigs?

The earwig you stumble upon is likely a European earwig, the most common type in our region among several species. Its 5/8-inch-long body is typically dark brown and fashioned with cerci, a pair of forceps-like pincers on the lower abdomen. They use these to capture prey. Their bodies are flattened, elongated and have hind wings that are rarely put to use. Though earwigs can fly, they typically choose not to.  

What do they look and act like?

Where are earwigs found? If they’re roaming around outside, they tend to stay near rocks, logs, and dead leaves. Moist areas that are dark and cool are a haven for pincher bugs. They prefer the great outdoors, but they tend to wander inside when the ground becomes too saturated and a shelter provides a slightly drier area to inhabit, or when they need warmer shelter in the fall. Usually, though, earwigs prefer to live outside where they have everything they need to survive. When they do go inside, earwigs like to make their homes in basements, under rugs, near furniture, behind basements or in floor drains. There are times when earwigs go inside by mistake, so don’t be alarmed if you see more and more as time goes on. However, they’re more apt to hide during the day and reserve activity for when they come out during the night.

Are earwigs dangerous?

Like we mentioned earlier, there’s no evidence that suggests earwigs will actually harm you by entering your ears. They may look dangerous, but they don’t sting, don’t have venom and are not poisonous. They may be capable of attaching themselves to your finger, but that’s about it.

How can I get rid of them?

In order to deter earwigs from your property, your best bet is to make earwig living conditions worse. Remove any plant debris around your home and other buildings. Keep foliage trimmed, away from windows and points of entry. Moisture problems can be a contributing factor to a growing earwig population and should be eliminated. This means any standing water or plumbing issues should be taken care of immediately. Other items, such as firewood, should be kept as far from your house as is practical, and you’ll need to repair any cracks or crevices. You can try and get rid of earwigs yourself with products at many home and garden stores, or you can call the experts to make sure your pest problem is taken care of for good. At Plunkett’s Pest Control, we have over 100 years of experience in the industry and pride ourselves in providing top care to our customers. We’ll get rid of your earwig problem for good so you can have peace of mind. Give us a call today to learn more or to schedule a service!

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