Earwigs – Friend, Foe, or Both?

Let’s quickly clear the air for this little insect. Earwigs do not derive their name because they enjoy burrowing into one’s ear, as some myths and legends may have you believe. Their name instead originates from the Old English eare wicga, meaning ear beetle. Entomologists believe that the name referenced the appearance of the hindwings which resemble human ears when unfolded. So never fear –  your ears are safe! However, plants and other insects in your garden may not be so safe.

Earwigs in the Garden

Earwigs are primarily nocturnal and will hide in moist, small crevices during the day. While active at night they feed on a variety of plants and insects. During the day they can be found in bark, fallen logs, wood chips, as well as within other living and dead plant and animal matter. Earwigs tend to live in areas where they can scavenge for food. The forceps at the end of their bodies allow for protection as well as holding prey. Common earwigs are omnivores and enjoy eating plants and ripe fruit as well as arthropods. Their common diet consists of plants such as clover, dahlias, zinnias, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberry, blackberry, sunflowers, celery, peaches, plums, grapes, potatoes, roses, beans, beats and grass shoots, and prey such as plant lice, bluebottle flies and aphids.

Earwigs in the Home

Have you come across one of these prehistoric looking insects in your home? Have no fear, they are looking for small, dark, moist places to hide. During the summer you may find them more often near sinks or in bathrooms. However, they tend to gather in shady cracks and openings as well as anywhere else that will conceal them from daylight.

Earwigs Everywhere, literally

Earwigs are abundant throughout the world. They may be believed to be a danger to humans, however their pincers can cause little to no harm to us. Earwigs have a love/hate relationship with farmers as they eat the insects that can damage the crops, but the earwigs themselves can also eat the foliage of the crops and cause damage as well, though it does take a large amount of earwigs to do substantial damage to a crop.

What to do about Earwigs

If you find that the earwigs are not damaging your plants and seem to be keeping other insects away, then the easy choice is to let them be in, and your garden will thank you for it. However, if you find they are damaging your plants and invading your homes, then it is time to take more serious actions. Give us a call or submit a service request online and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment to rid your Corona, CA home and garden of any pesky earwigs you may find.