July 11, 2023

What Do Earwigs Eat? Diet of Invasive Pests

With six legs and sharp pinchers, earwigs are creepy creatures that invade your home during the spring and summertime.

While earwigs aren’t frequent invaders, they can still infest homes during poor outdoor conditions. They could also head inside for a meal if your home has abundant food sources!

But what do earwigs eat when they infest your home or yard?

Keep reading to learn more about an earwig’s diet and what you can do to keep these pests off of your property!

What do Earwigs Eat Indoors?

Whenever earwigs invade your home, they won’t cause any interior damage to your furniture, clothing, or linens. Unlike silverfish, clothing moths, or carpet beetles, these pests are only visual nuisances. 

Instead of munching on your blankets and rugs, earwigs prefer to feast on organic plant matter or other insects, according to Iowa State University

Homes with large numbers of indoor foliage could attract earwigs, especially if you accidentally introduced pests from outdoor flowers or plants. Many ornamental or decorative flower species are typical delicacies for these pests. 

On live plants, you may see signs of damage on leaves, buds, petals, fruit, or vegetables. While their damage isn’t severe, it can still compromise the plant’s integrity or ruin flowering fruits and vegetables.  

Decaying plants don’t dissuade these pests, either! While many homeowners spot damage to their indoor decorative plants, earwigs prefer to feast on rotting plant materials like fallen leaves or flowers. 

Ailing plants in your home could attract pests like earwigs, especially if accidentally introduced or if the food spread outdoors is unfavorable.

How do Earwigs Come Indoors?

Because of their status as accidental or occasional pests, earwig infestations aren’t common in Washington. While residents regularly see them throughout the warmer months, other insects like ants or wasps are expected in the spring and summer. 

Earwigs can infest your home through recently purchased plants. Because of their affinity for dying and live plants, these pests can infest local nurseries that house indoor foliage and outdoor garden plants. 

While earwigs typically damage plants, these pests don’t discriminate when it comes to a meal! You may notice an uptick of earwigs indoors if you’ve recently harvested leafy greens, beans, or corn. Plus, these pests could hitch a ride in newly cut flowers or collected food if you have a garden. 

If the climate outside isn’t suitable for earwigs, they may come indoors to seek shelter. Like other invading pests, earwigs will search for open cracks and gaps that grant them access to your home. 

Once inside, these pests prefer to stay hidden in tight crevices, cabinets, or around your baseboards. Don’t expect to see these tiny bugs skittering around your tile during the day, though!

These nocturnal pests only appear during the evening or night to wreak havoc on your indoor plants and flowers. Spotting one in the daylight hours could indicate you’ve found an accidental intruder or the site of an infestation. 

What do Earwigs Eat Outdoors?

So, what do earwigs eat when not in your home?

Because earwigs are primarily garden pests, many homeowners see the impact of an earwig infestation on their outdoor plants and flowers. 

Feasting on leaves, fruits, and budding flowers, earwigs are at home inside your garden, surrounded by your growing greenery. 

Common garden plants affected by earwigs include:

  • Lettuce 
  • Spinach
  • Greens
  • Beans
  • Sweet corn
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots
  • Basil

However, the earwigs won’t stop here! These little pests will consume many familiar and beloved plants growing in your garden, decimating the crops and decorative flowers around your property. 

Plus, earwigs will flock to areas rife with moisture or decaying materials. Mulch-filled garden beds are excellent hiding spots for earwigs during daylight hours, especially in gardens with overwatered plants. 

Other hotspots for earwigs include leaf bundles, grass piles, stacks of wood, and dying plants. Keeping your yard tidy and clear of debris can help prevent earwig infestations and damage.

Using their sharp pincers, earwigs can quickly incapacitate their prey. Check out the video below to see these pests put their pinchers to work! Besides organic matter, earwigs appreciate a tasty insect snack too!

Earwigs won’t eat giant insects and instead prey on weakened or smaller garden pests like aphids and sowbugs. Because most earwig species are omnivorous, they’ll feast on whatever they can get their hands (or pincers) on!

Earwig Control Tips

Whether indoors or outdoors, no one wants a stubborn insect infestation on their property! Besides their unsettling appearance and sharp pincers, earwigs can cause damage to your plants and greenery. 

To prevent earwigs indoors, repair visible cracks and crevices and check all flowers or plants before you bring them indoors to avoid an accidental infestation because these pests enjoy moist environments, repair areas with leaks and water damage too. 

What should you do when you already have an infestation?

Earwig traps help eliminate earwigs and prevent further damage. Just place the traps in areas where you’ve previously noticed damage or saw the pests patrolling. 

As the earwigs crawl over the sticky surface in search of food, the glue-like substance will keep them in place until you return to collect the traps. Simply dispose of the product once you’ve caught enough pests. 

Diatomaceous earth is another viable option for indoor or outdoor earwig control. Many pest control options can kill outdoor plants, crops, flowers, and grass or make these items unfit to consume. 

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe to consume and won’t introduce harmful store-bought chemicals to your garden or lawn. Just sprinkle the white powder around your garden bed or indoors near your plants. 

As the earwigs crawl over the fine substance, the powder’s sharp particles create tiny cuts on the insect’s body. Without an intact exoskeleton, the earwigs will slowly dehydrate and die from water loss. 

While safe to consume, diatomaceous earth can cause lung irritation when inhaled in large quantities. Before placing this product or any other pest control option, wear protective gear like clothes and a breathing mask. 

If DIY options aren’t working, contact Zunex Pest Control for your pest control needs! Here at Zunex, we cover occasional invaders like earwigs and can help remove them when they infest your property. 

Call us today to learn more about our services or schedule a treatment!

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