The Q&A Archives: small brown bugs with pinchers

Question: Since the warm weather I find small brown bugs with pinchers at one end. How can I get rid of them?

Answer: Earwigs live in dark, damp, and confined places both indoors and outdoors. They are generally active only after dark. You might find them under firewood, newspapers, stones, potted plants, or landscape timbers. As scavengers, they feed on both living and decaying plant tissue, and living and dead insects. Although those pincers look fierce, earwigs are harmless. Earwigs can be a nuisance in the house, so you will want to keep them out by caulking around the outside of your home, especially at ground level. Clean up any debris and firewood around the house to eliminate hiding places for them. Earwigs indoors may be vacuumed up. They do not reproduce indoors and are only pests in the summer. By the way, those nasty looking pincers are harmless to humans. Earwigs have been spread almost everywhere in packing materials, so people who never saw them before have begun recently began to notice them for the first time.

Here is a simple, non-toxic trap for earwigs: Use a tuna can, or plastic margarine container. Place them around the garden with ?" layer of vegetable oil. Fruit peelings or a bit of soy sauce can be added as an attractant. Moistened, rolled up newspaper will also attract earwigs, as will short pieces of bamboo or rubber hose. Place any and all of these, before dark, in cool and damp places in the garden or damp basement. In the morning, finish the 'kill' by dumping the earwigs you catch in soapy water.

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