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Can Earwigs Infest Outdoor Structures Like Sheds Or Playhouses?

Have you ever wondered if earwigs can infest outdoor structures like sheds or playhouses? Well, you’re not alone! Earwigs are known for their reputation of being creepy crawlies, and many people are curious about their potential for causing trouble in their outdoor spaces. In this article, we will explore whether earwigs can indeed infest these structures and share some tips on how to keep them at bay. So, let’s put those fears to rest and learn more about these mysterious critters!

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What are earwigs?

Earwigs are small insects that are known for their unique pincers or forceps-like appendages, located at the end of their abdomen. Despite their name, earwigs do not actually crawl into people’s ears. They are typically dark brown or black in color and range in size from 0.2 inches to 1.3 inches in length. These interesting insects belong to the order Dermaptera and are found in various parts of the world.

Physical characteristics

Earwigs have a distinctive appearance, with their elongated bodies and flattened shape. Their forceps-like appendages, known as cerci, are used for a variety of purposes, including defense, mating, and capturing prey. The shape and size of the cerci can vary depending on the species of earwig. The wings of earwigs are usually not fully developed, and some species may have reduced or absent wings. They have segmented antennae and their bodies are covered in a hard exoskeleton.

Can Earwigs Infest Outdoor Structures Like Sheds Or Playhouses?

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Habitat and behavior

Earwigs are primarily nocturnal creatures and prefer dark, moist environments. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, under rocks and fallen logs, in rotting wood, and in outdoor structures such as sheds or playhouses. These insects are scavengers and feed on both decaying plant matter and small insects. Earwigs are attracted to moisture and will seek out areas with high humidity.

Outdoor structures and earwig infestation

Types of outdoor structures susceptible to earwig infestation

Outdoor structures such as sheds, playhouses, and storage units can be prone to earwig infestations. These structures provide the dark and moist environments that earwigs are attracted to. The small cracks and crevices in these structures offer hiding places for earwigs to establish their colonies.

Reasons why earwigs are drawn to outdoor structures

Earwigs are drawn to outdoor structures due to a combination of factors. The darkness and shelter provided by these structures mimic their natural habitats and offer protection from predators. Additionally, outdoor structures may provide a source of food, such as wood or decaying plant matter. The presence of moisture and humidity in these structures also attracts earwigs.

Signs of earwig infestation in outdoor structures

There are several signs that can indicate an earwig infestation in outdoor structures. One common sign is the presence of live earwigs or their shed exoskeletons. These insects are most active during the night, so a sighting of earwigs during the day may indicate a larger infestation. Another sign is the presence of chewed or damaged foliage, as earwigs feed on plants. Furthermore, the appearance of small, dark droppings or feces around the structure can be a sign of their presence.

Can Earwigs Infest Outdoor Structures Like Sheds Or Playhouses?

Preventing earwig infestations in outdoor structures

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene

Keeping outdoor structures clean and free from debris is an important step in preventing earwig infestations. Regularly sweep or vacuum the floors and corners of the structure to remove any potential hiding places for earwigs. Eliminating clutter and organizing the contents of the structure can also make it less attractive to these insects.

Eliminating excess moisture

Since earwigs are drawn to moist environments, it is important to address any excess moisture or leaks in outdoor structures. Ensure that the structure is properly sealed and waterproofed. Repair any leaks or cracks that may allow water to enter the structure. Consider using a dehumidifier or providing proper ventilation to reduce humidity levels.

Sealing cracks and crevices

Earwigs can enter outdoor structures through small cracks and crevices. Inspect the structure for any openings and seal them using caulk or weatherstripping. Pay special attention to areas where pipes, cables, or wires enter the structure, as these can provide entry points for insects.

Removing potential food sources

Earwigs are attracted to decaying plant matter and organic debris. Remove any dead leaves, branches, or decaying wood from in and around the outdoor structure. Avoid storing firewood or other organic materials near the structure, as these can serve as food sources for earwigs.

Using barriers and repellents

Applying physical barriers or repellents can help prevent earwig infestations. Place a barrier of crushed rock or gravel around the perimeter of the structure to create a deterrent for these insects. Additionally, there are various commercially available earwig repellents that can be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Natural methods for earwig control

Beneficial predators

Introducing natural predators of earwigs can help control their population. For example, attracting birds, such as robins or starlings, to the area can help control earwig populations. Other predatory insects, such as ground beetles or centipedes, can also prey on earwigs.

Traps and baits

Using traps or baits can be an effective method of controlling earwig populations. Earwig traps can be made by placing rolled-up newspapers or corrugated cardboard in the outdoor structure. The earwigs will seek shelter in these traps, and they can be disposed of the following morning. Alternatively, commercially available earwig baits can be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that can be used to control earwigs. This fine powder is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms and works by dehydrating and physically damaging the exoskeleton of insects. Apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around the outdoor structure and in areas where earwigs are commonly found.

Neem oil

Neem oil is a plant-derived insecticide that can be effective against earwigs. It disrupts the insect’s hormonal balance and serves as a repellent. Dilute neem oil according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the exterior of the outdoor structure.

Essential oils

Certain essential oils, such as peppermint oil or lavender oil, are known to repel earwigs. Dilute a few drops of the oil in water and spray it around the outdoor structure. Reapply the spray as needed to maintain its effectiveness.

Can Earwigs Infest Outdoor Structures Like Sheds Or Playhouses?

Chemical options for earwig control

Insecticides suitable for outdoor application

There are various insecticides available for controlling earwigs in outdoor structures. Look for insecticides specifically labeled for earwig control and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some common active ingredients in these insecticides include pyrethroids and carbaryl.

Application methods and precautions

When using insecticides, it is important to follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. Apply the insecticide according to the recommended application method, whether it is spraying, dusting, or baiting. Take precautions to protect yourself and the environment by wearing protective clothing and avoiding excessive application.

Professional pest control for earwig infestations

When to seek professional help

If the earwig infestation in your outdoor structure is severe or persists despite your efforts, it may be necessary to seek professional pest control services. Pest control professionals have the expertise and equipment to effectively treat earwig infestations and can provide tailored solutions based on the severity of the problem.

Choosing a reputable pest control company

When selecting a pest control company, it is important to choose a reputable and licensed provider. Research local companies and read reviews to ensure they have a track record of successfully treating earwig infestations. Request a quote and compare prices and services offered before making a decision.

Treatment options and costs

The treatment options and costs for professional pest control services can vary depending on the size of the outdoor structure and the severity of the infestation. A professional will assess the situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment method, such as residual insecticides, dusts, or barrier treatments. They will also provide information on the expected costs and any necessary follow-up visits.

Dealing with existing earwig infestations in outdoor structures

Identifying the extent of the infestation

Before addressing an existing earwig infestation, it is important to understand the extent of the problem. Inspect the outdoor structure thoroughly, paying attention to areas where earwigs are commonly found. Look for live earwigs, shed exoskeletons, or signs of damage or feeding.

Effective removal methods

Once the infestation has been identified, there are several methods for effectively removing earwigs from outdoor structures. These can include manually capturing the earwigs using gloves or tweezers, vacuuming them up, or using traps or baits to attract and dispose of the insects.

Preventing future infestations

After removing the earwigs from the outdoor structure, it is important to take preventive measures to avoid future infestations. Implement the preventive measures discussed earlier, such as maintaining cleanliness, eliminating excess moisture, sealing cracks, removing potential food sources, and using barriers or repellents.

Health risks and concerns related to earwigs

Earwigs and human health

While earwigs are generally considered nuisance pests, they do not pose significant health risks to humans. They are not known to transmit diseases. However, their presence in large numbers can cause anxiety or discomfort for some individuals.

Potential damages to outdoor structures

Earwigs can cause damage to outdoor structures, particularly if they are present in large numbers. They may chew on materials such as wood, insulation, or electrical wiring, which can lead to structural damage or malfunctions.

Protecting yourself and your property

To protect yourself and your property from earwigs, it is important to take the necessary preventive measures outlined earlier. By maintaining cleanliness, eliminating excess moisture, and sealing cracks in your outdoor structures, you can minimize the risk of earwig infestations. Regular inspections and prompt action can help prevent infestations from becoming severe.

Other common pests infesting outdoor structures


Spiders are commonly found in outdoor structures and can create unsightly webs. While most spiders are harmless and even beneficial due to their predation of other pests, some species, such as black widows or brown recluses, can pose potential health risks. If you encounter spiders that may be venomous, it is recommended to seek professional assistance for safe removal.


Ants are known for their ability to create extensive colonies and can be a nuisance in outdoor structures. They can forage for food and can contaminate stored items. Proper sanitation and sealing potential entry points can help prevent ant infestations. If an infestation is persistent or difficult to control, professional assistance may be necessary.


Termites are destructive pests that can cause significant damage to outdoor structures, particularly those made of wood. Early detection and professional treatment are crucial to prevent structural damage. Regular inspections and monitoring for signs of termite activity can help identify infestations before they become severe.


Cockroaches are often associated with unsanitary environments and can carry diseases. They can infest outdoor structures, especially if they have access to food and water sources. Eliminating food debris, sealing cracks, and using appropriate baits or insecticides can help control cockroach populations in outdoor structures.

Bees and wasps

Bees and wasps may build nests in outdoor structures, posing a potential risk to anyone who comes in close proximity. If you encounter a bee or wasp nest, it is recommended to seek professional assistance for safe removal. Attempting to remove the nest yourself can be dangerous and may result in stings.


Earwigs can infest outdoor structures like sheds or playhouses due to their preference for dark, moist environments. However, there are several preventive measures and control methods that can help keep these insects at bay. By maintaining cleanliness, eliminating excess moisture, sealing cracks, removing potential food sources, and using natural or chemical control methods, you can effectively prevent and manage earwig infestations. If infestations persist or become severe, professional pest control services can provide effective treatment options. Additionally, it is important to be aware of other common pests that may infest outdoor structures and take appropriate measures to prevent their presence. By taking proactive steps and addressing infestations promptly, you can protect yourself, your outdoor structures, and your property from the potential damages and nuisances associated with pest infestations.

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