Earwig Population Bugging Antigo Residents

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

They're small, red, and flat... and this summer they're wreaking havoc in the city of Antigo.

Earwigs are back with a vengeance, and there's not a whole lot you can do about the annoying insects.

Sharon Krugel's quiet backyard looks peaceful and alluring, but there's something lurking under each patio stone and flower pot.

"They just ruin the summer, they ruin the summer for the kids, the flowers, everything... I hate them," she said.

She's talking, of course, about earwigs.

"Earwigs would be considered beneficial outdoors, but indoors they can scare people," said Alex Crockford, an agriculture agent with UW-Extension in Langlade County.

The disgusting insects hail from Europe and have made their presence painfully known for years.

But this summer, they seem to have peaked.

"At some point the population reaches a critical mass where they get a disease... it goes through a boom and bust cycle... and we're probably pre-bust," Crockford said.

Not what Krugel wants to hear.

"Everybody in town has the problem, so they just multiply, and multiply and multiply," she said.

Keeping your yard dry is the best way to keep earwigs out.. but with all this recent rain, that's nearly impossible.

But you can keep them from crawling into your home. Crockford recommends caulking along foundation and trim.

Insecticides specifically made to tackle earwigs can be used outdoors.

"I keep a full time job just to purchase poison for the earwigs," Krugel said.

You can also trap the pests, by putting an empty can of tuna fish oil out in the yard.

Earwigs will crawl right into their death. Rolled up newspaper will also do the trick.

The bugs eat other insects and flowers... but unfortunately, nothing eats them.

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