Come springtime, after earwigs have spent the winter in small underground burrows, the females will lay eggs in their chambers. Within weeks, the earwig population will dramatically increase and are legendary for their ability to get into absolutely everything. When earwigs swarm your house or lurk inside, give the professionals at Creature Control a call.
Earwigs have a flattened, elongated body that’s usually black or brown, measuring about 1/2 inch in length. The most identifiable feature of an earwig is their large forcep-like pincers protruding from their rear end, which is used for holding onto their prey and as a weapon against other insects. Earwigs are nocturnal, feeding at night and hiding out in small, moist crevices during the day. They are omnivorous and will feed on a wide variety of insects, plants, and decaying organic matter such as rotting leaves and partially decomposed animals. Earwigs are non-social, but they live near each other in extremely high densities, giving the impression of dens or colonies. They prefer to live inside moist cavities like fallen logs and under wet leaf piles and almost anything left outside.
When it is time for earwigs to mate, the male and female will dig a small nest in the dirt where the female will lay 20 to 80 eggs. The male will then leave the nest or is driven away by the female. The pearly-white eggs will hatch into nymphs within seven days, appearing similar to adult earwigs except smaller and white in color. They will eventually pass through six stages on their way to adulthood. Earwig mothers are unique among non-social insects in that they demonstrate a maternal instinct for their young, cleaning the eggs, assisting the young in hatching, and watching over the earwig nymphs during the first phase of their life cycle.
Despite their intimidating look, earwigs pose no danger to people and generally do not pinch or bite humans, although an earwig who feels threatened may use its forceps to pinch. It is debatable whether or not earwigs help or hinder crops. Earwigs are known to eat young seedlings, but they will also eat aphids, mites, and other insects that feed on crops. If you have mulch beds around your home’s perimeter, they will frequently be swarming with earwigs, as the decaying organic material in the mulch is an ideal food source.
You are more likely to have issues with earwigs if your home sits on marshy ground or is in the vicinity of a pond or lake, or if you have a lot of mulch beds near the foundation of the home. Once present, earwigs are legendary for their ability to get into absolutely everything. They are most frequently sighted on a homes’ siding but earwigs also enjoy the moisture provided in outdoor patio cushions and even in the folds of wet laundry that is hung out to dry. Inside the house, earwigs can be found in clusters crawling along the ceiling and walls, behind furniture, the kitchen sink and counter, and basically in any crevice. Fortunately, earwigs do not “infest” houses; that is, they do not come into the home with the intention of setting up a nest or colony. Earwigs are non-social insects that lay their nests in the dirt.
Earwigs are attracted to warm, dark, moist places and get into the home by following any cracks in the foundation or crawling in under doors. Once they are in the house, they usually become fairly inactive due to the lack of available food inside, unless they can get into a potted plant or something with organic material. Even so, their presence can be alarming and there are ways of keeping earwigs out. Creature Control recommends a combination of pesticide treatment with habitat alteration to make your yard and home less conducive to earwigs. A foundation pesticide treatment coupled with spot treatments of the home’s interior can usually take care of the existing earwigs. At the same time, the removal of harborage areas, such as rotting logs and mulch beds, will discourage earwig activity near the exterior of the home. Call Creature Control today for an in-home inspection and recommendations to control and limit any pest or bug invasions.
Scratching during the day may indicate the presence of a bat, but this is uncommon.
More common sources of scratching or clawing during the day is a squirrel or a yellowjacket hive in the drywall, if it is summer.
A scratching sound coming from the attic is a good indication of the presence of a bat. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at day or night, though with a bat, this scratching will usually be heard at night. This is the sounds of the claws on the bat's wings as it moves around.
It may also indicate the presence of mice, however. An inspection is necessary to more directly pinpoint the source of the sound.
Gnawing sounds during the day are almost always due to the presence of a rodent, such a mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, or sometimes a rat. Rodents are characterized by their large incisor teeth, which continually grow and must be worn down by constant gnawing. Rodents will gnaw on wires, insulation and anything else they can find in an attic. Many house fires due to electrical problems are caused by damaged wires due to squirrel gnawing.
If you are hearing gnawing or chewing sounds at night, it may indicate the presence of a raccoon. Usually this will be accompanied by other noises, such as heavy walking. If you do not hear this, it may be a flying squirrel or some other rodent.
A "rolling" sound is usually due to the presence of a red squirrel bringing in nuts or other debris and rolling it around up in the attic, as squirrels will use attics to hoard food. If you hear this sound during the day, it is certainly a red squirrel, since red squirrels are the only mammals that commonly get into attics that are active during the day (flying squirrels get into attics as well but they are nocturnal). The "rolling" sound associated with a squirrel is sometimes described as the sound of marbles rolling.
If it is not a squirrel, there's a possibility a rolling sound could be made by birds moving around in a tight space.
Rolling sounds at night can be caused by flying squirrels, which are nocturnal. It is made by the squirrel bringing nuts or other debris into the attic or wall.
Raccoons may also make a rolling sound, though this is less common.
Scampering or scurrying during the day is almost always attributable to a squirrel, as most other scurrying animals (such as mice) are nocturnal.
A scurrying or scampering sound at night is usually due to mice moving through the walls, ceiling, or along the floor.
Nocturnal flying squirrels may make this noise as well; peak periods of activity for flying squirrels are just before dawn and shortly after sunset. Their scurrying is light and fast.
Raccoons may also make this sort of noise, but with a raccoon it will be more of a "walking" sound, a bit heavier than a squirrel, and not as fast.
Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.
If you can clearly hear the sound of flapping during the day, it is definitely a bird.
If you hear flapping at night, it is either a trapped bird or a bat. Nuisance birds are generally not active at night, so if you hear flapping it may be a bird that has become trapped. The flapping of a bat's wings is very soft, almost like a dull whirring. If you hear a very faint, soft whirring, it may mean a bat is flying around nearby in the dark.
Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall. It is not as common at night, but certainly can happen then as well if the hive is big enough.
Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by the presence of a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall.
A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.