Earwigs in Arizona: Arizona’s Most Wanted Pests #10

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If you’ve lived in Arizona for long, you know that our sunny, warm state has many good qualities, including a varied climate with mild winters. But with beautiful weather also comes the drawback of increased pest activity. There are many different bugs that find the climate hospitable in Arizona, and Blue Sky Pest Control is dedicated to effectively controlling them in and around homes and businesses.

Our latest blog series entitled, “Arizona’s Most Wanted Pests” introduces you to the top 10 pest concerns that invade the Arizona area. We’ll give you tips, tricks and what to look for when encountering the most problematic pests.  This month we feature #10 on the list, Earwigs, providing you with the facts and information to better understand this abundant and commonly seen insect.

Earwig up close Often called “the pincher bug,” earwigs are tiny black bugs that often have red and yellow coloring with an elongated, thin body. They are known as the pincher bug because of their distinct tail that features tiny pincers. Often found under debris and rocks, Earwigs can be found under virtually anything, and favor decaying organic matter, such as leaf litter, yard clippings, and gardens. Earwigs can live indoors and prefer to take refuge in dark places. Not uncommon in homes and around the yard and gardens these bugs are mostly harmless to humans, but there are a few things you should know.

Five facts about earwigs:

  1. Earwigs have six legs, providing another way to identify them.
  2. Besides the two pincers, another way to distinguish whether or not the bug you’re seeing is an earwig is by how many legs it has. Earwigs have six tiny legs that allow them to quickly crawl.

  1. They use their pincers to fight, but pose little threat to humans.
  2. What are the pincers on an earwig good for? If a predator comes at an earwig, they can most likely use their pincers to fight them off. Earwigs might also use their pincers to gather food. Although the sharp pincers of an earwig might be intimidating to humans, being pinched by an earwig won’t cause damage if they meet your skin.

  1. Earwigs love moist areas.
  2. Earwigs like to hide in the gaps between concrete slabs that is frequently moistened (near sprinklers or just beneath hose spigots), and in soil near drip systems.

  1. They mostly stay outside.
  2. Since earwigs love moisture, they will most likely stay outside, rather than infest your home. However, if the outdoor space an earwig is in is too dry, they will likely pick up and move somewhere with more moisture, such as a basement or cool crevice in your home.

  1. Earwigs might make their way into your home.
  2. Earwigs mostly live outdoors, but they may come inside when it’s cold or where there are gaps they can easily use to come/go. People can bring them in on/in anything, including shoes, camping gear, pool toys, and anything else that spends much time outside before being brought inside. If you do find them in your home, they are typically nocturnal and prefer dark crevices with moisture, common sightings are in bathrooms and around sinks.

How to control earwigs

Although we recommend a professional pest control service for bugs, there are some things you can do to keep earwigs out of your home or office.

  1. Keep the inside of your home or office dry. Earwigs like moisture, so make sure to fix leaky pipes, spigots, or drip/sprinkler systems quickly. Any regularly moist area is a potential harborage area for them.
  2. Regular inspection and cleaning around the home.
    • Indoors: Earwigs like to hide under objects and are commonly found inside homes under garbage cans, couches, and other furniture that creates large covered areas but doesn’t often move. Periodically moving these items and cleaning beneath them, either with a vacuum and light cleaning solution can help keep them from becoming a home for earwigs (and other pests, too).
    • Outdoors: Reduce clutter in the yard, such as leaf litter, toys, tools, and building supplies. Either move them or elevate them enough to allow airflow, which prevents moisture from accumulating beneath, creating ideal conditions for earwigs.
  3. Seal any gaps. To help prevent any bugs from getting into your home, make sure windows, doorways are sealed with weather stripping (if you can see light through the gaps in the doors, earwigs can get in). Ensure gaps around plumbing and other utility lines entering the house (pipes, A/C lines, cable/satellite wire entry holes, dog doors) are sealed or screened properly. Focus on those items near flower beds or moist areas where earwigs are more likely to enter.

If you have concerns or need additional help in dealing with earwig problems in your home, contact a trusted pest control service for earwigs.

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