Monday, August 12, 2013

Bending your earwig

I have always wondered why earwigs cause significant infestation problems in northern latitudes, but not here on the upper Texas coast.

There are many species but the ones I've seen around here look like this, with a distinctive forked rear end. 
That photo was taken on my back patio yesterday - these things can be found just about everywhere outdoors, but in 20 years, I've never seen an earwig enter a southern house of mine (knock wood).  And yet when I visit the northeast, I can't go 20 minutes without encountering an identical-looking earwig that has breached the residential perimeter.  They backstroke in toilet bowls.  They love to burrow into freshly-cleaned laundry.  They get into kitchen cupboards and they crawl on you as you are sitting on the couch.  It is not uncommon in some areas of the northeast to see homes completely surrounded by a moat of boric acid powder in feeble attempts to halt the earwig onslaught. 

But I don't hear about this happening in our neck of the woods, and neither have I ever seen a case of it.  I'm eternally grateful for this, but I don't get it.  The best explanation I've found so far is that they don't like dry areas.  Perhaps they have an aversion to central air conditioning, which is absent from many northern abodes. 

I don't know.  It may remain one of life's great and fortuitous mysteries. 

3 comments:

  1. Perhaps earwigs are an anoles favorite snack?

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  2. Anoles undoubtedly help to suppress the overall numbers because they eat everything, but they still don't explain the non-intrusion. A year or two ago, upon returning from a vacation in the northeast, I mentioned to my family that we needed to check our suitcases to ensure we weren't unwittingly porting any long-distance earwigs into the house. We normally deposit our bags in our attached garage and then hand-carry the contents into the house bit by bit after inspection. Anyway, as I was commenting on this, what did we encounter upon arriving from the airport at our house? An earwig sitting on the door jamb. But like his friends, he declined to come inside.

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  3. I'm just happy they're not an 'indoor' insect around here. There was a certain Night Gallery episode that I saw as a kid that I'll never forget..
    Most Disturbing TV scenes ever

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