Steve Tvedten's "The Bug Stops Here"
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Earwigs are conspicuous and easily recognized relatives of cockroaches. They are ¼ - 1" long, elongated, flattened insects with forceps or pinchers at the tail end; they may be winged or wingless. At first glance, winged earwigs appear to be wingless; in fact, their wings fold up many times under the small front wing covers; some fly to lights. Earwigs have chewing mouthparts and are opportunistic omnivores that feed on other insects and often scavenge in garbage and moist plant material. They also feed on some plant tissue, and atleast one is a pest in greenhouses. They are dependent on high moisture. Earwigs are active at night; they shelter together and are quiet during the day, hiding in moist, shady locations. Tarsi are 3 segmented

Earwig females tend their young. Like roaches, they are crack and crevice oriented. They place their eggs in moist depressions or holes, guard them, groom them until they hatch, and take care of the early stage nymphs. Earwigs grow with gradual/simple metamorphosis: older nymphs and adults harbor together - their gregarious behavior is (like the cockroach) the result of an aggregation pheromone.

Approximately 1,100 species of earwigs have been described worldwide. About 22 species occur in the U. S., but only a few are household pests. The common name of "earwig" comes from an old European superstition that these insects enter the ears of sleeping people and bore into the brain. The old Anglo-Saxon word earwig literally means "ear-creature". This belief is basically without foundation; only occasionally one will try to hide inside a human ear. Dermaptera refers to the "skin-like" forewings present in winged species, and the term forficulina translates into "little scissors." Antennae are thread-like and about half the body length. The forceps-like abdominal cerci are apparently used as both offensive and defensive warnings or weapons, and are sometimes used to capture prey and to fold their wings after flight. As frightening as they look these pincers are not considered harmful to people. They are considered to be beneficial insects by many people because they are predators on some small insects, e.g., aphids, and they are primarily scavengers of dead animal or plant materials, although they do feed on and/or damage live plant materials. Populations generally build up around building foundations. If you must kill them simply spray the foundation with dish soap water and/or diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint (1 - 2 oz. per gallon of water). Properly install and use a dehumidifier and/or air conditioner and/or fans.

If you still are having earwig problems, read The Best Control© or The Best Control II© on CD-ROM.


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