Earwigs are a species of insect with a long, slender body and a pair of pincers on the end of their abdomen. There are 1,800 species of earwig and they are primarily found throughout the Americas, Eurasia, Australia and New Zealand. 5 species are found in North America, 45 in Europe and approximately 60 species in Australia. They have two sets of wings, but rarely use their flying ability. They are nocturnal insects and will hide in small, dark, moist places during the day.
What Do They Eat?
The earwig’s diet consists of a wide variety of small insects, plants, fruits and flowers. They will also scavenge and eat dead animal matter. They tend not to be picky about the type of vegetation they eat and are often blamed for damage to crops and gardens. They are known to eat clover, dahlias, zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhock, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberry, sunflowers, celery, peaches, plums, grapes, potatoes, roses, seedling beans and beets, and tender grass shoots and roots. They can also eat corn silk ruining corn crops, but they are not considered to be a huge threat to crop production.
Interesting Facts about Earwigs
- Earwigs get their name and reputation from an old wife tales that they crawl into your ear and lay their eggs in your brain. This is not actually true; however, they have been known to crawl into a human ear in search of a warm humid place to spend the daylight hours.
- The female earwig looks after the eggs until they hatch and then watches over the hatchling until their second molting. This is very unusually behavior for an insect.
- Some earwigs dig up to 6 feet down to hide during cold winter months.
- Earwigs are rapid runners and can migrate short distances using this ability.
- Vinegar is an effective way of controlling an earwig infestation. It won’t kill them but it will deter them from entering your house.
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