Saturday, July 6, 2013

Are earwigs living in your chicken coop?

I don't often go out to the coop and kick around the litter at midnight, but I did yesterday. I happened to go down to check on some babies who's mama decided they were are all grown up at 3 weeks old. I wanted to get them off the floor and with the other mama for bedtime. When I entered the coop I noticed the bedding had gotten piled up in front of the door a little so I kicked it back and that's when I saw them. Earwigs. Lots of them!

Creepy, right? Is it a problem though? As gross as it might be, if you have red mites earwigs might be the answer to your prayers! Earwigs will eat red mites and love to hang out in the crevices and cracks of wood, which is exactly where the red mites live. That's a whole other post though, for now lets talk about earwigs alone.

bugs in the chicken coop


Some random facts:
1) Earwigs are arthropods, they have an exoskeleton.
2) They are nocturnal. During the day they like to hide in crevices of wood and under things like floor mats or rocks.
3) Earwigs have wings and can fly but rarely do. 
4) They are omnivorous. They eat other arthropods, plants, ripe fruit and decaying animal matter.
5) Males have curved pincer's, females have straight ones.
6) They hang out around moisture like under rocks and around bathroom sinks. 
7) The only native species of earwig in the northern states is the Spine-Tailed earwig. (the ones in the picture) 
8) They are not poisonous or hazardous to chickens, in fact they are a good source of protein. 

What does this mean to your coop? 
Since earwigs hide in crevices and seams between wood, you're probably not going to be able to fill in all their hiding places. 
Because they are omnivorous, you could keep the coop as clean as your house, and there will still be something in there for them to eat. 
They are arthropods which means they have an exoskeleton so you can control them with Diatomaceous Earth.

The question I want to ask you is: Do you really want to get rid of them? I personally don't see a reason to wage war on them. I do dust the floor of my coops with DE and that will kill off the ones that come in contact with it. I don't go hunting them out by dusting every crack and crevice but if they really freak you out, that would be an effective way of killing them. Simply get a pest control duster, fill with diatomaceous earth and dust it in every crack between boards, in nest boxes, around and behind nest boxes, and even up in the ceiling rafters. Use one of the duster tips to get in between the boards. You might want to wear a mask for that! Also, they are a bug and chickens love to eat bugs so the chickens will naturally help you control the population a bit. If you want to let the chickens have more access to the earwigs, leaving a small light on for awhile at night will allow them to see the earwigs when they come out. As creepy as they look, they are a harmless little bug and there really is no harm in having them in your coop.

~L

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13 comments:

  1. We have earwigs in our coop, too. I don't like them, but they don't seem to be causing any harm so I leave them alone.

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    1. There seems to be a lot more this year then normally...but I agree, they don't seem to be a problem so why fuss with them!

      ~L

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    2. do u want them biting your babiy ..eww i think not if they get in the house its war !

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  2. I wonder if I have earwigs as well. I don't go in the coop at night. I've never seen any in daylight. Since they are actually beneficial I think I will leave their presence a mystery. I really don't want to see them.

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    1. lol I didn't want to see them either! They do a great job of hiding during the day...I had to turn over rocks to get the other picture...so hopefully you wont see them!


      ~L

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  3. That's some really great information on earwigs...sounds like a great plan too - to let chickens be the natural control. It takes care of the insects and saves you work. I was once bitten by an earwig and so I admit I do still carry a bit of a grudge about them...couldn't believe how much the bite hurt!! :) Thanks for sharing your post!!

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    1. I was too! It had made itself at home in a mop that way sitting on the back porch and when I went to ring it out by hand the earwig got me. ouch! That was over 15 years ago and I still remember how bad it hurt. lol

      thanks for stopping by!

      ~L

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  4. Very good information on earwigs! I may have to venture into our coop late and night and see if I find any hiding! Thanks for sharing on the Home Acre Hop, hope to see you again this week! - Nancy The Home Acre Hop

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    1. Have fun hunting earwigs! lol They seriously creeped me out at first, but after doing some research I feel a lot better about their presence. Let me know if you find some!


      ~L

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  5. They creep me out too. But as beneficial bugs go, I let them live along with the spiders. Spiders seem to love the eaves of my coops. They help keep the mosquitoes at bay.

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    1. Really? I didn't know that...I hate mosquito's so that is a big plus! Thanks!


      ~L

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  6. I put DE on my carpets. One crawled out covered in it and didn't seem to effect it in any way.

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    Replies
    1. DE isn't a fast acting poison like bug sprays and Sevin Dust. DE works by scratching the waxy coating of the insects exoskeleton. Once these scratches are in the coating, the insects dry up and die. SO the bug you saw in the DE would have died from it, it just takes a little time. It works slower then something chemical like bug spray but is so much safer.
      Hope that helps!

      ~Lisa

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