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Brown Bugs with Prongs Pointing from their backs

Question I have been seeing these brown bugs and am not sure what they are. They are brown, skinny and have prongs pointing straight out the back of them. I have seen in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room. Could you tell me if you think they are roaches or waterbugs? I have looked at the pictures and am not sure if they really look like either.

ANSWER What you have are earwigs.

Earwig populations have been on the rise across the country for several years now, and this year seems to be no exception. Earwigs can be a genuine nuisance both indoors and outdoors. These insects have a threatening look, but are generally harmless. They are predators of other insects, but will also eat plant material.

Earwigs are not easily controlled outside or removed from indoor sites, such as bathrooms and kitchens, or any place that has an availability of water. Indoors you can vacuum them from the cracks and crevices they hide in during the day. It is usually best to vacuum them at night when they are active. Check the door thresholds and windows at ground level; they can and do enter through these routes. They can collect in mail and newspaper boxes and come in with the morning paper and the mail.

Outdoors, eliminate as much of their hiding places as possible. These include  pavers, firewood, landscape timbers , and other items they can get under. Reduce outdoor lights as they can fly towards light.  If not able to move the lighting the use of “bug lights can help.   Spraying for them outdoors may be helpful, but you will have to directly contact them with the spray. The best control method outside is to eliminate their harborage, or hiding places, and maintain the area around the home as dry as possible.

They look worse than they actually are. They will not bite or sting, and do not actually infest houses (nor do they crawl in ears!). They are usually found near water or in humid areas of the house, so start with the kitchen sink and wet places near lights that are on during the night. As occasional invaders it is best to keep them outside the home where they belong.

Related Questions

I have a big earwig problem. What are some strategies to use to help control them before I call for an estimate?

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