Pest Away Tips

8 Earwig Facts You Need to Know

Earwigs: Separating Fact from FictionEarwigs are a type of insect that have been a topic of fascination for centuries. These small, six-legged creatures have been the subject of many myths and misconceptions.

From their alleged penchant for crawling into people’s ears and eating their brains to being poisonous, earwigs have gained a reputation that is far from accurate. In this article, we will take a closer look at earwigs and their true nature.

Earwig Description

Appearance and Anatomy

Earwigs are small insects, ranging from 5 to 25mm in length. They have a flattened body and distinctive pincers, which they use to defend themselves from predators and other earwigs.

Earwigs are typically dark brown or reddish-brown in color, with a long, slender abdomen and two pairs of wings. However, not all earwigs have wings, and some are flightless.

Reproduction and Life Cycle Stages

Earwigs reproduce sexually, with males and females mating during the summer months. After mating, females lay eggs in soil crevices and cover them with dirt to protect them.

The hatchlings then emerge from the eggs after a few days and go through several molts before becoming adults. The entire process takes around three to four months.

Habits and Behavior

Earwigs are nocturnal insects, and as such, they hide during the day and come out at night to feed. They prefer moist, warm environments and can be found both outdoors and indoors.

Earwigs are omnivorous, meaning they feed on a variety of things, including dead insects, plants, and fruits. They are not harmful to humans or pets and do not carry diseases.

Earwig Myths and Misconceptions

Myth: Earwigs can crawl into your ear and eat your brain

This is one of the most common myths about earwigs, and it is entirely untrue. Earwigs are not attracted to human ears, and they cannot fit inside an ear canal.

Their pincers are not strong enough to penetrate human skin, let alone the skull. Rest assured that earwigs pose no threat to your brain.

Myth: Earwigs are poisonous

Another myth about earwigs is that they are poisonous. While they do produce a foul-smelling liquid when they feel threatened or in danger, this liquid is not toxic to humans or animals.

Earwigs are not venomous and do not pose any significant health risks. Myth: Earwigs are harmful to plants

Earwigs do feed on plants, but they prefer dead or decaying vegetation.

In fact, earwigs are known to eat pests that damage plants, such as aphids and mites, making them a beneficial insect in gardens and farms. Myth: Earwigs are rare

Earwigs are not rare insects; in fact, they are quite common in many parts of the world.

While they may not be as visible as other insects, such as butterflies or bees, they are still an essential part of the ecosystem.


Earwigs are fascinating insects that have been the subject of many myths and misconceptions. However, now that you have a better understanding of their true nature, you can rest assured that earwigs are not harmful to humans or pets and do not carry diseases.

They are also beneficial insects in gardens and farms, as they help control pests that damage plants. Let’s dispel the myths about earwigs and appreciate these interesting insects for what they truly are.

Earwig Diet and Species

Food Preferences

Earwigs are omnivorous insects that feed on both animal and plant matter. They hunt and consume other small insects, such as aphids and mites, as well as snails, slugs, and other soft-bodied invertebrates.

They also feed on decaying plant matter, fruits, and vegetables. Earwigs are known to sneak into pantries and food storage areas, so keeping your kitchen clean and well-sealed is essential in preventing earwig infestations.

Common Earwig Types

There are several earwig species found worldwide, but the most common ones include the European Earwig, the Ring-legged Earwig, the Striped Earwig, the Maritime Earwig, and the Saint Helena Earwig. The European Earwig is the most prevalent earwig species worldwide.

It is often found in gardens and around homes, and its appearance is similar to that of other earwig species with its distinctive pincers and flattened body. The Ring-legged Earwig is found throughout North America and has a characteristic ring-like pattern on its legs.

The Striped Earwig is also found in North America but has unique stripes on its abdomen. The Maritime Earwig is found near the coastlines and feeds on decaying seaweed, while the Saint Helena Earwig is found only on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Wing Capabilities

Most earwigs have two pairs of wings, but not all earwig species use their wings for flying. Earwigs use their wings to glide from one place to another instead of active flight.

Some species of earwigs have completely lost their wings and are now flightless.

Use of Pincers

Both male and female earwigs have pincers, but male pincers are usually more prominent and curved than female pincers. Earwigs use their pincers for various activities, such as defense against predators and other earwigs, capturing prey, and mating rituals.

During mating, males use their pincers to grasp onto females, and females use their pincers to hold onto their eggs.

Earwig Interactions with Humans and Pets

Harmful Effects

Earwigs are not harmful to humans or pets in general, but they can cause damage to gardens and indoor plants. They feed on a variety of plants, including flowers, vegetables, and fruits, causing significant damage to the crops.

Earwigs usually attack and feed on softer parts of plants, such as leaves, stems, and petals. Pets can be frightened by earwigs, but they are not known to cause any significant damage or harm.

Earwigs, however, can pinch or bite if they feel threatened, but the damage is not severe or long-lasting.


Preventing earwig infestations is essential for protecting your garden and home. To prevent earwigs from entering your home, seal all entry points like cracks, crevices, and openings in doors, windows, and screens.

Keep your home clean and dry, reducing moisture and humidity levels, and fix any plumbing leaks. In your garden, eliminate any hiding places for earwigs, such as piles of debris or leaves, and keep the area dry and well-maintained.

Additionally, avoid over-watering your plants and create physical barriers to keep earwigs from feeding on your plants.

Infestation Signs and Removal

Signs of an earwig infestation may include significant damage to your garden and indoor plants. You might also spot clusters of earwigs, especially in moist and dark areas like under rocks, in garden debris and leaves, or near the soil surface.

If you suspect an earwig infestation, there are several ways to remove them:

– You can physically remove them with a vacuum or by handpicking them. – You can also create earwig traps using rolled-up newspaper or damp cardboard, where earwigs will hide during the day.

You can then dispose of them by placing them in soapy water. – Earwig baits containing boric acid can also effectively remove earwigs.

Place the bait near earwig-infested areas, and the earwigs will consume it and die. In conclusion, earwigs play a vital role in the ecosystem, as they control pests that damage plants.

However, in large numbers, earwigs can cause significant damage to gardens and indoor plants. Preventing earwig infestations through proper sealing, cleaning, and dehumidifying your home and garden is key to controlling earwig populations.

Should you suspect an infestation, physical removal, trapping, and baiting are all effective methods for ridding your home or garden of earwigs.

Conclusion and

Professional Help

Earwig Control

If you have a severe earwig infestation, you may need to consider using chemical treatments to control the population. However, before you resort to chemical treatments, it is best to try other methods.

Creating a barrier around your home, using baits and traps, and reducing moisture in your environment are all effective methods for controlling earwigs. If these methods do not work, you may want to call in a professional pest control company to help you deal with the infestation.

Terminix, for example, offers an earwig control program that uses a combination of chemical and non-chemical treatments to remove earwigs from your home and garden.

Professional Help

Professional pest control companies have the expertise and specialized equipment needed to identify the extent of the infestation, locate the hiding places of the earwigs, and provide effective treatments to remove them. They use safe and approved chemicals that are specifically designed to target earwigs without harming humans or pets.

They can also provide useful tips on how to prevent future infestations and monitor your property regularly to ensure that the earwigs do not return.

Concluding Thoughts

Earwigs are fascinating insects that play an essential role in the ecosystem. However, in large numbers, they can cause significant damage to gardens and indoor plants.

To prevent an earwig infestation, seal your home and garden, keep them clean and dry, and eliminate any hiding places. If you suspect an infestation, try physical removal, trapping, or baiting before resorting to chemical treatments.

And if all else fails, seek professional help from pest control companies like Terminix. Remember, controlling earwigs doesn’t have to be a difficult task with a little effort, you can keep them under control and maintain a pest-free environment.

In conclusion, earwigs are interesting insects that have gained a reputation for being harmful to humans and pets. However, this is far from the truth.

Earwigs are beneficial in controlling pests that damage plants, but in large numbers, they can cause significant damage themselves. To control earwig populations, it’s essential to seal your home and garden, keep them clean and dry, and eliminate any hiding places.

You can also try physical removal, traps, or baits before resorting to chemical treatments. And if all else fails, seek professional help from pest control companies like Terminix.

By following these tips, you can keep earwig populations under control and maintain a healthy and pest-free environment.

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