What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Earwigs Everywhere!
Location: Southern California Rural Desert
August 19, 2011 12:37 am
Hello Bugman!
We love your site, and have found it extremely helpful in identifying all the creepy-crawlies we have around our desert home. Anyway quick question for you. We are having an Earwig issue. We find them all over the house it night! In every room, but only at night. Some nights we’ll see two dozen or more! Is there anything we can do to get rid of these guys? Does seeing a lot mean there’s like a nest or colony somewhere? Any info would be greatly appreciated! (P.S. I didn’t have a picture, but they pretty much look like the drawing attached.)
Signature: Earwigged-Out

Earwig from Palmdale

Dear Earwigged-Out,
We have decided to illustrate your inquiry with a photo from our archives of an immature Earwig from Palmdale.  That person just asked for an identification.  They did not ask for advice on the control of Earwigs.  Earwigs are generally associated with the garden, but they are attracted to lights.  We need to do some research on this matter.  We wonder if inhospitable conditions in the desert are causing them to change their habits.  Perhaps they were originally introduced to the area with plantings from a nursery and in an effort to survive in an area that is not suited to their love of moisture, they have fled inside to the comfortable conditions you have created for yourself and your family.  Is this a new development or a long established community?  We expect that Earwigs would be perfectly content to scavenge in your basement for any food that is left available to them, and if conditions are right, that they would reproduce there.  Earwigs are known for some maternal care of the offspring.  Again, we need to do some research.

Hi Bugman,
Thank you for the reply!  Our town is not that far from Palmdale, so the image you used is exactly like the earwigs we are seeing in our home.  Our home, as well as most of the homes in our area, is actually 60+ years old.  But a few years before we moved in, the yard was renovated with some new cacti and other plants, so it is very possible the earwigs came from a nursery.   We definitely feel like since the weather has gotten extremely hot over the last 2 months (110+ degrees daily), we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of earwigs in the house.  They are definitely nocturnal — I can’t remember ever seeing one crawling across the floor during the daytime.  We don’t have a basement, and the ironic thing is, our home is made out of steel!  So I’m very surprised they’re getting in, although with the home being so old, I’m sure there’s loads of little spaces here and there.
Do earwigs eat other bugs?  What does their diet primarily consist of?  I’m just wondering if maybe we find a food source and remove that, it would help with our invasion!  We have loads of other spiders, bugs, lizards and birds in our yard (nesting roadrunners even!), and we’d really love the earwigs to stay out there too!
Anyway, thanks again!
Earwigged-Out

Hi again Earwigged-Out,
It is our understanding that Earwigs are omnivorous and that they will eat both plants and animals.  They are frequently found in compost piles.  We did find this interesting bit of information on BugGuide:  “Earwigs are sensitive to heat and dryness, so they usually hide in cool, dark places during the day and come out at night.  Some species hide mostly under leaves, rocks and other debris, while others hide under the bark of trees. An important habitat in the deserts of the southwest US is inside rotting cactus- one of the few places with constant moisture even in the driest parts of the year.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California

2 Responses to Earwigs Invade Home

  1. Dannemund says:

    To be honest, I think that it’s just the weather this year. The earwigs have been absolutely horrible here—dropping on us in our sleep and being nuisances. We live in SW Pennsylvania and recently moved, so we thought it was the new place, but our landlord next door is having the same issues, and he thinks it’s just how warm and humid it has been.

    It has gotten a little better in the last month, though.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your comment. That makes sense for Pennsylvania, but two letters from the High Desert Area of California might have some other extenuating circumstances.

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