Earwigs and your air conditioning unit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Earwigs and your air conditioning unit

by Danielle Wagner

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) If you've noticed a lot more earwigs lately, you're not alone.

The brown, waxy looking bugs love moisture, and thanks to all our wet days in June, there's plenty of it for them.

While earwigs look menacing with their pinchers, experts say don't wig out, they're harmless to humans.

"I think they're pretty sick. Especially when you find them when you're sleeping," said Robin Westerman.

Not many people like earwigs...

"They crawl inside your ears and eat your brain, and they pinch you," said Westerman and Skyler Ferguson.

Well, not quite. Earwigs are actually harmless to humans. But that's not the case with air conditioners.

If you enjoy the sound of your air conditioner running smoothly, it's best to keep earwigs away.

Jonathan Swarts with Fereday Heating and Air Conditioning installed a new unit in Cedar Falls. He showed us on the old unit some damage left behind by earwigs.

"They usually cause damage to the contactor because they seem to be attracted to electricity and they have a waxy shell on them. They get in between contactor and acts as insulator," said Jonathan Swarts.

Swarts said damage to the contactor can spread to other components of the A/C unit. He recommends spraying around the unit and the electrical components to keep the bugs away.

"They're attracted to moisture. They're attracted to electricity. If your A/C is sitting in a well shaded very moist area, you probably have lots of earwigs in the area and a great potential to get in your A/C. You just need to take some preventative measures with bug spray," said Swarts.

He said if you hear a loud buzzing noise it could be a sign of problems. Get some spray and call a repairman before the problem spreads and you end up needing a new unit instead of just a new contactor piece.

Here are some tips for eliminating earwigs:

-get rid of anything that creates a dark, moist hiding place

-trapping is an effective way to reduce earwig populations

-items such as rolled up newspapers, corrugated cardboard or tuna cans work

-place the traps just before dark

-in the morning, shake the traps over a bucket of soapy water

To keep earwigs from getting inside your home:

-caulk any cracks and crevices

-manage moisture by repairing leaky faucets or drain spouts

-establish a clean, dry border next to your foundation

-be sure to vacuum or sweep up any dead earwigs

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

Powered by Frankly