After the wettest June on record for Iowa and a rainy July so far, a pesky insect that usually lives outdoors is finding its way into the homes of many Iowans. Entomologist Phil Pelleteri says the bugs known as earwigs have what appears to be big pinchers on their tails, but in reality, he says they’re relatively harmless.
Earwigs are having a good year in the lush weather, tiny nocturnal creatures he says don’t do much during the day but often spend their evenings chomping on flowers. Other than gobbling up our landscaping, Pelleteri says earwigs don’t do much harm. Even if you keep your house spotless, he says they’ll find their way in — but he notes, earwigs aren’t really good indoor bugs.
“If they get in the house, the good news is they won’t breed indoors, they won’t hurt anything, they just kind of freak people out,” he says. He suggests you caulk water faucets, door frames and windows so the bugs don’t squeeze inside. Pelleteri says there is a way to avoid getting the bugs in your house, but it’s more practical perhaps for Arizonans, not Iowans.
“I always tease people, if you make your back yard a sand box, you will not have earwigs,” he says. “Basically, if you like to grow plants and whether you water them or Mother Nature does, those lush conditions with mulch and whatnot are exactly what earwigs like to have.”
He say the name “earwig” comes from a rumor that the bugs can crawl into your ears, lay eggs and eat your brains. Relax, Pelleteri says, the rumor is false.