The common forficula is a reddish-brown, shiny-looking insect with a flattened body measuring 13 to 30 mm long. One recognizes it easily with the two appendices in the shape of grips, the cerci, which finish its abdomen. The cerci are more robust and very arched in the male, while those of the female are thin and almost straight. The head of the European forficula has two filiform antennae whose length is about half that of the body. The mouth parts are of the crusher type. Its thorax carries three pairs of spindly legs. Two pairs of rather discreet wings are also attached. The wings of the first pair are usually yellowish, very short and thick. They cover and protect the hind wings. Slightly longer and more rounded, these almost always remain folded in a complex way under the elytra. The forficule is able to fly but it rarely does so.
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ALL ABOUT THE EARWIGS
How to get rid of earwigs?
Getting rid of earwigs (or forficulas) may require a multiple approach. Here are some suggestions to help you:
- Clean up your environment: Earwigs like dark, damp, cluttered areas. Therefore, clean up piles of leaves, wood and other debris in your garden. Check and seal cracks and openings in the walls of your home.
- Control moisture: Earwigs are attracted to moisture. Be sure to drain the water around your home and correct any moisture problems inside.
- Use traps: You can create earwig traps by rolling up a wet newspaper or using a jar filled with wet bran or straw. The earwigs will enter the trap to hide. You can then remove the traps from your home.
- Use insecticides: If the infestation is severe, you may consider using an insecticide specifically designed for earwigs. Be sure to follow all instructions on the package for application.
- Consult a professional: If you are having trouble controlling the infestation, it may be helpful to call in a professional exterminator.
Don’t forget that earwigs can also be useful in the garden, as they feed on small pests and decaying plant material. It is therefore preferable not to eliminate them completely, but rather to control them.
Why are there so many earwigs?
There may be an abundance of earwigs (or forficulae) for several reasons:
- Favourable conditions: Earwigs prefer dark, humid and well-sheltered places. If your home or garden has many such nooks and crannies, this could explain their presence in large numbers.
- Food Availability: Earwigs feed on a wide variety of materials including plant debris, small insects, and decaying organic matter. An abundant food supply can therefore attract and maintain a large population of earwigs.
- Lack of predators: In an environment where their natural predators (birds, spiders, certain insects) are absent or in small numbers, the earwig population can increase.
- Breeding season: During their breeding season, which is usually in the spring, you may see an increase in their population.
- Climate Change: Earwigs are most active during periods of warm, humid weather. In addition, if outdoor conditions become too dry or cold, they may seek refuge inside their homes.
It is important to note that while they may be unpleasant or scary to some people, earwigs are generally harmless to humans and may even be beneficial to the ecosystem by helping to break down organic matter.
What attracts earwigs?
Several factors can attract earwigs, also known as earwiggers, to your home or garden:
- Humidity: Earwigs like humidity. They are often attracted to damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, leaky pipes or clogged gutters. Outdoors, they may be attracted to frequent watering, piles of wet wood, mulch, dead leaves or stones.
- Food: Earwigs are omnivorous. They feed on a wide variety of materials including plant debris, small insects, and decaying organic matter. For example, a garden rich in plants or a pile of compost can attract them. Inside the house, they may be attracted to food left uncovered.
- Shelter: Earwigs prefer dark, sheltered areas. They often hide under stones, logs, flower pots or piles of leaves. In the home, they can hide in cracks and crevices, behind furniture, rugs or baseboards.
- Climate Change: Earwigs are most active during periods of warm, humid weather. However, if outdoor conditions become too dry or cold, they may seek refuge inside their homes.
It is important to note that although earwigs can cause damage to plants or be a nuisance inside the home, they are generally harmless to humans.
How to treat an ear clip sting?
It is important to note first that earwigs are generally harmless to humans. Although these insects have pincers on the back of their bodies, they are mainly used to defend themselves against predators or to capture their prey. It is rare that an earwig stings or bites a human being. If this happens, the bite is usually painless and harmless.
However, if you are bitten by an earwig, here are some steps to take:
- Cleaning the wound: First, clean the bite area with mild soap and water to prevent infection.
- Disinfection: Apply an antiseptic to the wound to prevent infection.
- Monitoring: Monitor the bite area for signs of infection, such as excessive redness, swelling or pain. If you notice these symptoms, consult a healthcare professional.
- Pain relief: If the bite area is painful, applying a pain-relieving ointment or taking an over-the-counter medication may help relieve the pain.
- Bandaging: If necessary, apply a clean bandage to protect the bite area.
- Medical consultation: If the wound does not heal, if it seems infected or if you experience unusual symptoms, it is best to consult a health care professional.
Remember, the best way to prevent earwig bites is to minimize contact with these insects and take steps to avoid their presence in your home.
Where do earwigs live?
Earwigs are insects that prefer damp, dark and confined environments. Here are some places where they are usually found:
- Under rocks and debris: Earwigs are often found under rocks, logs, dead leaves and other debris. They find humidity and are protected from predators.
- In gardens: Earwigs like gardens, especially those with lots of plants and organic matter, such as dead leaves or compost. They are often found in compost piles and under flower pots.
- In homes: When they enter homes, earwigs are usually found in damp, dark areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, basement or attic. They can also hide in cracks in walls and floors.
- In wooden structures: Earwigs can sometimes be found in wooden structures, especially if the wood is damp or decaying.
- In woodpiles: Woodpiles provide ideal shelter for earwigs because they are dark, moist and offer protection from predators.
It is important to note that earwigs are generally nocturnal, which means that they are most active at night. During the day, they hide in their shelters to avoid the sunlight.
|Latin name||Forficula auricularia|
|Length||1.3 to 2 cm|
MORE INFORMATION ON EARWIGS
LIFE CYCLE OF EARWIGS
Mating of adult forficula occurs mainly in July and August. In October, as soon as the night frosts are regular, they sink into the ground to spend the winter. Between mid-November and mid-December, the female isolates herself in a burrow and lays an average of 50 white, smooth, egg-shaped eggs. It remains active during the winter. From the time of laying, the female fasts and takes care of her eggs throughout the incubation period, which lasts about six months in Quebec.
Eggs hatch in the soil around mid-May. The larvae are then 2 mm long. They are white at first and then turn grayish a few hours later. Their rings are thin and rather straight. The common forficula being an insect with incomplete metamorphosis (hemimetabole), the young resemble the adult very much. Generally, the female continues to care for her larvae until their first molt, two to three weeks after their birth. Towards the end of May, the young larvae leave the burrow at night to feed. They come back underground when the day comes. After a short period, they do not return to the burrow and seek other dark shelters where they take refuge in tens during the day. It is from this moment on that the forficules seem so numerous to us.
The forficula undergoes four moults before reaching the adult stage. In Quebec, the first adults generally appear in July and remain active until October.
Most adult males die during the winter while females survive until June. The common forkbeard produces only one generation per year in Quebec.
In Quebec, the scutigère lives in homes, especially in warm and humid areas such as the basement and bathroom. It settles in between walls, on pipes, in cracks, ventilation ducts and damp cellars. The animal is often seen in the bath or sink, or near a drain. In warmer regions, this scutigère can live in the wild.
FEEDING OF EARWIGS
This nocturnal insect leaves its shelter after dark to feed. Active at night and omnivorous, they eat small insects and various plant parts, as well as plant and animal matter. In the gardens and around the house, his menu includes young shoots, fruits, vegetables and flowers.
CONTROL METHODS & EXTERMINATION OF FORFICULA
The forficula is an insect that can be considered useful in a garden when it is not found in too large numbers. Therefore, the goal is to reduce populations rather than eliminate them. And before you think about controlling them, it’s important to check if earwigs are actually causing the damage. These insects are nocturnal, so make sure you know what they are doing in your garden at night with a flashlight. Flea beetle damage often resembles slug damage. Take the trouble to check for slimy trails, a sign of the passage of these mollusks.
THERE ARE SEVERAL SIMPLE AND ECOLOGICAL WAYS TO CONTROL FORFICULA. HERE ARE SOME OF THEM:
- Start your vegetable garden as early as possible to get a head start on the insects.
- Mulch the garden with compost to create a complex soil surface where various organisms that earwigs can feed on will grow.
- Clear the area around your home of leaves, wood piles and debris.
- Go around the traps in the morning and drown the insects in a container of soapy water (the soap allows the water to penetrate the small breathing holes of the insects, which perish by asphyxiation).
- Put diatomaceous earth in cracks and crevices, around woodpiles and around the house (this product loses its properties when wet, so reapply it after a rain).
- Spray the earwigs with diluted liquid soap.
- Shake out items you carry from the garden to your home to avoid introducing insects into your home.
- Installing cords of firewood along your house is not a good idea, please string them at least three feet apart and check the openings of your house to prevent the insect from entering.
- Seal cracks in the house, door and window frames, and install screens in air vents.
- The traps can be used for several days, but don’t forget to inspect them regularly and dip the earwigs in a bucket of soapy water to get rid of them. (Dish soap also works)