Though widespread legend may have many convinced that earwigs do actually crawl out of people's ears, hence the direct translation to "ear creature," they do not. Though they are originally from across the pond, the European earwig made its way to North America in the early 1990s, according to the PennState College of Agricultural Sciences. Though there are several different species of earwigs, the European earwig is the one most commonly found throughout Canada and much of the U.S.
About the European earwig
These earwigs can be easily distinguished by their long and very strong cerci, or clippers, located on their abdomen as well as their reddish brown color and flat body, reported the University of Minnesota Extension. Male and female earwigs can be differentiated by these cerci - the male's are spread very far apart, strong and curved, while the cecri of a female earwig are more slender and straight. Preferring dark, damp places, earwigs are mostly active at night, according to the source. During the day they are usually found in potted, moist plants, under doormats, beneath bricks and anywhere else on your property that suits their favored environment.
Do earwigs pose a threat?
Earwigs are very well known for invading homes, particularly damp basements, bathrooms or even attics, given their attraction to dimly lit places of moisture. The National Pest Management Association reported that while they do not pose any serious health threats, earwigs can be a nuisance to deal with when they invade your home. Though their appearance may make you feel otherwise, more than anything they're merely an inconvenience.
Home pest control
Practicing home pest control and prevention is especially important when it comes to managing earwigs, as they'll feed on everything from healthy plant material to dead organisms, insects and dying plants. The NPMA advised removing all piles of leaves, mulch or other vegetation from the area surrounding your home. If there are cracks or holes in your home's foundation near these piles of vegetation, earwigs are likely to find a way inside. It's important to seal any of these cracks as a means of prevention.
Home pest control is especially important during the summer months, as that is when earwigs are most keen on getting indoors, reported the University of Minnesota Extension. If they do gain access indoors - usually in large numbers - be aware of the strong odor they can secrete from their abdomen. If the earwig situation gets out of hand, it is best to call your local pest control company.