Earwig can bring to mind ear hair or the urban legends that say these insects can crawl up our ears and eat our brains. Earwigs, in fact, do not refer to either these two. While they are in fact insects, earwigs are nocturnal insects that feed on other insects and certain types of plants. They are commonly mistaken for cockroaches or beetles. The surest way to identify an earwig is by their distinctive pincer-like tails. While the bite of an earwig can be painful, they are not venomous and do not transfer diseases.
However, it can be pretty understandable for you to not want these creepy-crawlies in your house. Understanding how earwigs work is the key in getting rid of them for good. Here are some ways for you to get rid of earwigs.
Get Rid of Earwig Spots. Earwigs love dark and moist areas, which can explain why you can usually find them hanging around damp newspapers or around the foundations of your house. Earwigs get attracted to the latter precisely because the foundations have a tendency to accumulate moisture. The solution? Throw out your old rotting newspapers, sweep up wet leaves, upturn large loose stones and clean out your foundations. Basically: Clean up everything that’s lying around and serving as earwig homes. Overlaying a border bed of white rocks or pebbles can help keep your foundations dry, help your drainage from accumulating water and make them earwig-free. Make sure your rain gutters and spouts direct away from the foundations of your house.
Check for Cracks. Ever wonder how the darnation earwigs came crawling into your house? Cracks in the foundation, windows and doors are your likely culprit, either through degradation, becoming warped through time or they have always been ill-fitted in the first place. Have your windows repaired and screens re-fitted to avoid this problem. For doors with little cracks or the areas around faucets, you can quickly fix the problem with putty, sealant or have them refitted entirely. Caulk and weather strippings are also very helpful. (Learn how to use silicon caulk)
Make Traps. Since earwigs love cold and damp places, make traps that are attractive to them. Simply take an old newspaper and roll it up loosely, securing it with a rubber band. Soak the newspaper completely in water, but not too much to make it fall apart. Plant the newspaper where you have observed many earwigs are. Leave overnight. Earwigs will have made their home in a newspaper and when they do, put the newspapers (now with the earwigs in them) and put them in a plastic bag, sealing the bag tightly. Throw in the garbage bin. Whatever you do, do not use it for compost.
Another trap that you can do is to get a used low-sided can and fill it with ½ inch of used vegetable oil. Leave the can where earwigs have been observed but where it cannot be accidentally kicked over. You can even put a slice of apple inside to make the trap look more attractive to earwigs. Leave overnight, and the next day, you will see that earwigs have made their way into the can and drowned.
Boric Acid. Boric acid is a substance commonly used to kill insects, but is relatively safe for humans and animals. Apply them in the places where you suspect earwigs commonly pass through or where you have seen earwigs the most. Boric acid will only work if the earwigs pass directly through them.
Invite Predators. Birds are a great predator to most insects, and encouraging them to come in your lawn or garden to stay will have a big impact on your existing earwig population. Install bird feeders and bird baths to make your garden more inviting to birds.
If you don’t mind them, introducing toads in your garden also goes a long way in getting rid of earwigs and other pests.
Vacuum. If you have been lucky enough to zero in on where the earwigs have been hanging out in clusters, bring out your vacuum cleaner. Make sure the dust bag is entry before you start. Be prepared to do a little work because the earwigs will surely scatter in the face of a vacuum cleaner. You should also vacuum the white round eggs of the earwig that you run into.
Sodium Light. Typical fluorescent lights we use in our homes emit a more blue wavelength that are attractive to earwigs. Not only are they attractive but they also show the earwigs how to get into the house. While this may not get rid of the earwigs, installing sodium lights may lessen the earwigs venturing indoors. You can also try reducing the lights you use outdoors as not to attract the attention of the earwigs.
Dishwashing Soap. Add a tablespoon of ordinary dishwashing soap in a gallon of water along with your plant’s fertilizers. Use this mixture to water your plants. Earwigs also like to feed on plant roots, and the dishwashing soap is poisonous to them.
Insecticides. Many earwig-specific insecticides are available in the market today, commonly carrying the chemical pyrethrins, and are typically not harmful to humans and dogs. These insecticides usually come in powder form and are mixed with water, and then sprayed in a six to ten foot radius all around your house, starting from the foundations of your house. You can also use granular insecticide and apply it to the soil in the foundations of your house. The spray can also be used in the little holes that you suspect earwigs are using to gain access to your house. Using insecticide is also recommended to be done after you’ve plugged in the cracks and holes.
Despite earwig pesticides being generally harmless, make sure that you read the instructions very carefully and keep them from animals and children.
Take Out the Trash. Earwigs may be the reason for you to take the trash out regularly. Earwigs love your trash because they can live and feed on it, so make sure you get rid of it as often as possible.
Move Things Around. Earwigs can make their homes in garden furniture and patio chairs, not to mention large jars and potted plants. Make them a little less comfortable by moving your garden furniture around every now and then, exposing parts to the sun. You can also move your pots around and clean their former spots to send the earwigs scuttling. Clean out your jars and overturn your empty pots flat on the ground to discourage earwigs from making their homes there.
Earwigs may seem daunting at first, but combined methods are more likely to bring success. Chemical solutions should be saved for last, and lastly, if you can’t do it on your own anymore, you can always call for professional help.
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