an earwig on a thumb

If you're noticing earwigs in Fairfax, you're not alone this year wondering why you have so many earwigs this year. We have received many more calls about earwigs in Fairfax and nearby communities than usual. Several factors could be contributing to their presence.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the increase in calls about earwigs is weather conditions. Warmer and wetter weather patterns that we have been experiencing in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. create the ideal conditions for earwigs and other pests that thrive in wet conditions. Fairfax has experienced a warm and wet winter and spring, followed by a very warm and rainy summer. These weather conditions create ideal environments for earwigs to thrive. Warm temperatures and high moisture levels from frequent rains provide the perfect habitat for earwigs to breed and multiply.

Earwigs prefer moist environments, and the consistent moisture from a wet winter and spring provides them with ample breeding grounds. This increases their population as they have more opportunities to reproduce.

Warm and Rainy Summer: The continued warmth and rain in summer helps sustain the high humidity levels earwigs need to survive. As a result, you may notice an uptick in their activity as they seek out food and shelter, sometimes finding their way into homes. You can expect to see so many earwigs as climate change continues to create severe weather patterns across Virginia, the DC region, and the entire country.

What Are Earwigs?

Despite their name, and folklore, earwigs have nothing to do with your ears. Though I have to admit the idea of an earwig in my ear is a scary thought!

Earwigs are small, elongated insects belonging to the order Dermaptera. They are easily recognized by their distinctive forceps-like pincers at the end of their abdomen. Adult earwigs typically range from 5 to 25 millimeters in length, and their bodies are usually dark brown or reddish-brown. Earwigs have two pairs of wings, although they rarely fly, and their forewings are short and leathery, covering only part of their abdomen.

Earwig Behavior and Habitat

Earwigs are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the night. During the day, they seek out dark, damp places to hide. This preference for moisture is why you often find them in gardens, under rocks, in mulch, and inside decaying wood. They are also attracted to areas with high humidity inside homes, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Properties with extensive gardens, mulch beds, and compost piles are particularly attractive to earwigs. These areas provide abundant food sources and shelter.

Earwigs can enter homes through small cracks and gaps in doors, windows, and foundations. They are often drawn indoors in search of food and more hospitable conditions, particularly during periods of drought or excessive rain.

Are Earwigs Dangerous?

The good news is that earwigs are not dangerous to humans. Despite their somewhat menacing appearance, earwigs do not pose significant health risks. They do not transmit diseases, and their pincers are primarily used for defense and capturing prey, not for attacking humans. While an earwig might use its pincers if handled roughly, any resulting pinch is usually mild and harmless.

While earwigs are not dangerous to humans, they can be a nuisance in gardens. Earwigs are omnivorous, meaning they feed on a variety of plant and animal matter. In gardens, they may chew on leaves, flowers, and seedlings, potentially causing damage to young plants. However, they also play a beneficial role by consuming other garden pests, such as aphids and insect larvae.

How To Get Rid Of Them

Controlling moisture is the best way to eliminate earwigs. As I noted earlier, warm and wet weather creates the ideal conditions for earwigs to breed. While we can't control the weather, we can help control conditions around our homes to prevent earwigs.

Some ways you can help to control earwigs include:

Improve drainage around your home. Grade soil so that water flows away from the structure. Using downspout extensions can be an effective way to direct water away from your home.

Limit mulch used around your home. The purpose of mulch is to dress up your home and also help retain moisture around trees and plants. While that can be good for the trees and plants, it's another reason you may be seeing so many earwigs. Try to use mulch further away from the structure.

Planting bushes and trees further away from the home is always good for pest control. Bushes and trees close to the home can allow pests to hide, climb up the home, and in the case of earwigs, provide food sources close to the home.

Earwigs can enter homes through small cracks and gaps in doors, windows, and foundations. They are often drawn indoors in search of food and more hospitable conditions, particularly during periods of drought or excessive rain. Sealing up these gaps will help prevent them from getting inside.

Since earwigs thrive in moist environments, reducing moisture in your home though using a dehumidifier can help. This will also help make your home more comfortable and can help reduce other pest pressures. Also, look for and repair leaks and leaky faucets.

How My Pest Pros Can Help

Dealing with earwigs in Fairfax can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and professional help, you can manage and prevent infestations effectively. If you're experiencing an earwig infestation in Fairfax, it's essential to take action to control and prevent further issues. My Pest Pros offers comprehensive pest control services designed to effectively manage earwigs and other pests in Fairfax, Arlington, Burke, and nearby communities. Our pest experts are here to help you achieve a pest-free environment. We will conduct a detailed inspection of your property to identify the extent of the earwig infestation. Based on our inspection findings, our technicians will offer a customized treatment plan to target earwigs and the pests specific to your home and neighborhood. This plan may include exterior and interior treatments to eliminate existing earwigs and prevent future infestations. Pest control is an ongoing process. My Pest Pros offers regular monitoring and maintenance services to ensure that earwigs and other pests do not return. We provide continuous protection to give you peace of mind.

If you need help with earwigs or other pests, call My Pest Pros today at 703-665-4455.