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European earwigs Order Dermaptera, which meansâ€śskin wingsâ€ť to describe their leathery wings. European earwigs successfully overwinter outdoors in northern united states
European earwigs are reddish brown and about 3/4 inch long. Their most distinctive feature is the prominent, pincers-like cerci on the end of the abdomen. Earwigs use their cerci for defense, capturing prey, and sensing the environment. The cerci can pinch you if you stick a finger between them, but they cari t break the skin.Male earwigs have curved cerci that are thicker at the base, while females have thin, straight cerci.
European Earwigs are most active at night and hide during the day in dark, confined, damp areas and are found under potted plants, leaves, welcome mats, and other objects, as well as in cracks between pavers, bricks, and similar places. You can also find them on plants in buds and folded leaves. Earwigs are scavengers feeding on damaged and decaying plant matter as well as weakened or dead insects and other small organisms. Earwigs can also feed on healthy plant material.
Life Cycle: European earwigs mate in late summer and early fall before establishing subterranean nests. Before oviposition, males return to the surface from mid-February to April. European earwigs exhibit one generation per year even though some females can produce two broods. The female European earwig invests high maternal care for eggs and early nymphal stages. After the eggs are laid, the female European earwig gathers the eggs together in a pile and stores them in a shallow hole, over which she stands guard. In the first batch, females lay from 30 to 55 eggs. Fewer eggs are laid in the second batch. Eggs of the first brood hatch in 70 days after being laid because of the cool spring temperatures and eggs laid in late spring or summer take only about 20 days to hatch.
The European earwig has four nymphal stages and exhibits two phases during growth: nesting and free-foraging. Adult females and first instar nymphs remain in the nests until a molt has occurred. Second instar nymphs seek food at night after females open the nest. These nymphs return during the day but some of them may not find their own nest. The third and fourth nymphal stages are represented by free-foraging organisms which live on the soil surface. The first and second broods go through the same developmental habits. By August and September both broods reach adulthood and pairing begins. T
Damages: European earwigs eat small holes in plant leaves during the night. Earwig damage often appears small compared to the large pest populations present,and it can be confused with injuries caused by slugs, cutworms, or even rabbits. Larger plants will tolerate the feeding, but seedlings and flowering plants can be severely damaged or female earwig male earwig killed by dense populations.
Confirm the presence of earwigs by checking the plants at night, or by looking for them congregated under boards, firewood, or tree bark next to your plants.
Control: persistent trapping can be used to reduce earwig abundance, though this approach is challenging if the initial earwig density is high. Boards placed on the soil will be attractive to earwigs seeking shelter. Even more earwigs will accumulate if there are narrow grooves or channels in the board. Moistened, rolled-up newspaper placed in the garden in the evening and disposed of in the morning makes a convenient earwig trap for home gardens. A particularly effective technique is to fill a flower pot with wood shavings and invert the pot over a short stake that has been driven into the soil. Traps can also be placed in trees because earwigs favor convenient shelters after foraging for food during the evening.
European earwig Damage
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