What are earwigs?

What are earwigs? The name earwig comes from the superstition that they burrow into the ears of unsuspecting people as they sleep and lay their eggs in the ear canal. This is a myth that has no scientific basis. Earwigs are insects that are characterized by their two antennae, three body parts, six legs, two pairs of wings (even though they rarely fly), and a set of formidable pincers at the end of their abdomens.These pincers are used for defense as well as sparing with rival earwigs. They are a reddish-brown color and their sizes range anywhere from 5 to 25mm. Earwigs love moisture and humidity which means you’ll find them outside under piles of lawn clippings and mulch. If they make it into your house, they’ll move through the entire home gravitating to crawl spaces, bathrooms, and basements. There are more than 1,000 species of earwigs in the world with 22 of those species in the U.S. They like traveling in large groups which scientists believe is due to the fact that they produce pheromones. They also can produce a foul-smelling liquid that is used in defense. Immature earwigs resemble adult earwigs except that they do not have wings.


Although earwigs look deceptively menacing with their pincers, the only things they are dangerous to are other insects. They do not bite, do not sting, have no venom, are not poisonous, and do not spread bacterias nor diseases. However, if you try to handle them or pick them up, they will use their pincers in self defense. These pinchers typically are not strong enough to break through your skin, but the pinching may hurt a little bit and might leave a small bruise or welt. They are not harmful to people and act mainly as pests as they infest homes, businesses, and can be destructive to gardens. They love hiding in dirt and are attracted to rotting plant material that they’ll go eat. Since earwigs are omnivores, they will eat pretty much anything including plants as well as other insects. They love fruits, vegetables, leaves, flowers, insects, wood, and even mold. They will eat and kill plants as they go and since they gather in large groups, can cause significant damage to gardens and property. They are no danger to people as they don’t bite, aren't venomous or poisonous, and rarely pinch. They mainly act as nuisances as they destroy plants and gardens.


In most cases earwigs are found at night feeding on dead insects and decaying properties like plants. During the day, in most cases earwigs will seek protection under areas such as mulch, rocks, and other debris. Earwigs can be found in areas that are going to have high moisture content or where moisture is trapped. It is likely that if you’re finding them inside your home they are finding moisture that is attracting them. On the exterior it’s pretty common to find them next to the foundation of your home where moisture exists.


Seeking ways to reduce the moisture along the foundation, in enclosed areas such as crawlspaces, and in basements will help reduce earwigs. One way to eliminate moisture on the foundation of your home is to direct water from downspouts away from the home. Touch up the foundation if it has cracks and crevices as well as maintain the threshold and seals on windows. If you are finding earwigs in larger populations, contact Recon Pest Services and ask about our Code Green Unlimited service.


Q: How are earwigs getting into my home?

A: A common reason you will see these bugs is due to migrations of large populations. It is also common to see them in areas where moisture could be prominent.

Q: How can I determine if I have earwigs on my property?

A: Seeking out areas of moisture, inspecting areas where plants grow heavily, looking under mulch beds, and finding areas where rocks lay are all ideal inspection points.

Q: Will watering my lawn or garden cause an infestation?

A: This depends primarily on the area surrounding the watered plants. If it’s suited heavily for moisture to be retained, then it’s more likely. Give us a call if you need help determining this.

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Servicing customers in the Metro Omaha Area from Lincoln to Bellevue Nebraska

Recon Pest Services
9989 J Street
Omaha, NE 68127
Phone: 402-227-3266
Omaha Metro Area