What Eats Earwigs?
When you think of an earwig, you probably don’t think of them as a food source to any creature, considering they have pinchers. However, most animals have some natural enemies. The exceptions are with poisonous animals, large cats, and eels, among others. So, what feasts on earwigs?
What’s an Earwig?
An earwig, also known as a pincher bug, is an insect with pincers extending from its backsides. They use these pincers for defense. Surprisingly, several species exist, some of which exude an unpleasant-smelling liquid as another defense mechanism.
Earwigs are dark brown and have six legs and two antennas. They’re long and narrow and can be found throughout the US. Typically, an earwig is around an inch in length.
Their bodies have a leathery appearance. Some have a set of wings. Despite the wings, they won’t fly far.
Despite their appearance, these bugs are no real danger to humans because they don’t transmit disease, and they’re not poisonous. They, however, are damaging to vegetation.
Earwigs got their name because they were once thought to enter people’s ears. At the time, it was believed that they would burrow into the brain and lay eggs. This has been disproven, but their common name hasn’t changed.
Do Earwigs Have Natural Predators?
Many animals and other insects don’t find the pinchers on these bugs as a threat. Therefore, earwigs have several natural predators.
For instance, various types of birds and lizards will consume earwigs. Other bugs, such as centipedes and yellow jackets, will also eat them.
Do Spiders Eat Earwigs?
In addition to the predators above, certain spiders will eat earwigs.
Wolf spiders, for example, are known to eat insects like earwigs. Tarantulas are another known predator of earwigs, among various other types of spiders.
Do Earwigs Bite?
A pincher bug won’t bite you, but they can use their pincers to hurt you if they feel threatened. When they pinch, the area may appear red or swollen, and it will cause a bit of pain.
Do Earwigs Eat Any Insects?
Earwigs are omnivorous species, so they eat both plants and animals.
They’ll consume certain insects, dead or alive. Examples of bugs consumed by earwigs include mites, aphids, and sowbugs. They’ve also been known to eat the eggs of other insects. Earwigs won’t consume any type of spider, though.
What Attracts Earwigs to Your House?
Although you’ll see earwigs during the daytime, they’re primarily nocturnal animals and will hunt and eat at night. Despite their sleep habits, they’re attracted to light. Therefore, they may make an appearance in your home. They may also come into your home in search of warmth when temperatures drop.
Typically, they enter homes through the crevices of doors or windows and will invade through foundation openings. Other possible entryways for earwigs include unscreened foundation and attic vents and access doors for crawl spaces.
You may even bring in pincher bugs. You can find them living under plant pots, particularly ones that have saucers underneath them. Therefore, if you bring them inside before winter, they could hitch a ride into your home.
How to Get Rid of Earwigs
You may find insecticides that’ll kill earwigs. Some examples of effective pesticides that address earwigs include pyrethrin, malathion, and sevin.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural pesticide. It consists of fossilized diatoms, also known as plankton, that accumulate in freshwater lakes.
This matter is abrasive and will cut through earwigs’ shells and cause them to dry out. Fortunately, this option is safe around children and pets since it’s used in some toothpaste and certain beauty products.
Another non-toxic way to kill earwigs is with a solution of water and rubbing alcohol. You place this mixture into a spray bottle and aim it directly at the earwigs.
Water and dish soap is also known to kill these pests. And just like rubbing alcohol, you may kill them on contact with this method.
If you would prefer a less messy solution, you could opt for traps. One kind is a soy sauce and oil trap. The aroma will attract the pincher bugs. Once they enter the mixture, they drown.
Consider making a light trap. Fill a bucket with a combination of dish soap and water. Point a light at the bucket to attract them. They’ll enter the bucket where they’ll meet their demise.
Vacuuming can also get rid of earwigs. Once you have the earwigs in the vacuum canister or bag, make sure you empty them into a solution of dish soap and water. This solution will kill the pests before disposing of them.
Unfortunately, some individuals end up with heavy infestations, and they’re continuously contending to ward off earwigs. In this case, you may need to hire a professional exterminator to tackle the problem.
Fortunately, exterminators can offer pet and child-friendly options and educate you on preventing reinfestation.
How to Prevent Earwigs
As unwanted houseguests, the easiest solution is to prevent earwigs from coming into your home. Make sure you seal your windows and doors properly so they have fewer ways to enter your house.
Check your home’s foundation for openings and caulk them. Repair or replace any screens with holes in them since these give earwigs easy access to your house.
Like many other insects, earwigs thrive in moist environments. Therefore, you should fix any leaking pipes.
Earwigs prefer the outdoors since it has food sources readily available. They’re partial to wood, rock, and leaf piles, so remove them. You especially want to keep these items away from your home, so they don’t have an easy route to your home. Ideally, you should keep mulch away from your home as well.
Earwigs won’t eat spiders, but some varieties will eat them, which can help prevent them in your home. Often, that’s not enough to keep them out of your home, though, which is when at-home solutions may be necessary. In some cases, you may even need to take drastic measures, such as calling an exterminator, to stop the infestation.