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Earwigs are six-legged insects which have been around for millions of years. In fact, fossil records show prehistoric versions of earwigs dating back to the late Triassic or early Jurassic period. This is roughly two hundred million years ago.
Earwigs are insects which make up the order known as Dermaptera. There are known to be more than 2,000 species of earwig separated into 12 families. These insects are found on every continent save for Antarctica.
In Santa Barbara, CA, earwigs are common especially during wetter months such as during the fall and winter. Residents often find earwigs in their homes and crawling around places like laundry rooms or near doors which have been left open.
Earwigs are six-legged insects from the order known as Dermaptera. The word comes from two Greek words - derma, which means skin and pteron which means wing. Thus, the technical translation for earwigs is skinwings. They are very closely related to beetles and have hindwings which are folded closely to their body and very, very tiny forewings which are rarely used. Technically this means earwigs could fly, but incidents of them flying are rarely reported.
Earwigs have a very unique appearance that often causes homeowners to be very concerned when they see them. This is because the most prominent feature on earwigs are the large forceps on their hind end which are often referred to as pincers. However, incidents of earwigs using those pincers against people is extremely rare and would often require picking up and handling the insect for such a thing to happen. Earwigs much prefer to run away and hide when encountering potential threats.
Earwigs are long, but not nearly as long as centipedes. These insects have six legs and long antenna on the front of their heads. They have a rear section which appears segmented. Male earwigs have circular pincers, while females have straight pincers in the back. Most earwigs are only 7-50 millimeters in length.
The most famous myth is that earwigs used to crawl into the ear canals of sleeping humans to lay eggs. This is how they got their name, actually. The myth was even more gruesome in that the story was the insects would eat their way into the brains of these unsuspecting victims.
Of course, none of this is true. Yes, there have been instances where an earwig has ventured into the ears of a human, but they do not lay eggs and they do not eat human flesh. Humans are not on the diets of earwigs.
Earwigs are known to eat very small insects. It is thought they do use their pincers to hold prey, but even that is up for debate. However, the fierce-looking pincers are very rarely used against people. Earwigs do not carry venom and are not looking to bite or pinch humans. Humans are too large for an earwig to consume.
Is it impossible for a human to be pinched or bitten? No, but the extremes to which a person needs to go in order for the pincers to be used are extreme. Handling the insect, for example. Earwigs can also sometimes crawl into shoes or other clothing items left near doors and when pressed against skin, might pinch or jab a person.
Earwigs in Santa Barbara, CA, are not considered dangerous. Mostly they are a nuisance pest and are indicative of other issues around the home. If you want to prevent earwigs inside your home, make sure doors are closed, screens are repaired if they have holes, and that any hole or opening leading outside is sealed up. Repair holes in siding and make sure garage doors, sliding patio doors and any door leading outside has a sweep which goes all the way to the ground as earwigs searching for insects to eat may crawl under a space at the bottom of a door.
Earwigs may be inside your home if they have found a moist place to hide out. This could mean laundry rooms, mud rooms, basements or other areas. Getting rid of the excess moisture in those rooms will help prevent earwigs. The insects may also be finding other smaller insects to eat, which keeps them coming back, so a pest treatment to get rid of those pests might also help.
Western Exterminator is your local Santa Barbara, CA, pest control specialist. We are local to the area an understand the pest control needs for commercial and residential properties across the area, including earwigs. Our earwig control specialists will do a property inspection to find the possible access points for the insects and then offer recommendations for getting rid of earwigs on your property along with a treatment and prevention method to keep earwigs away.
The first step is to contact your local Santa Barbara, CA, Western Exterminator office and schedule an initial pest inspection.
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