Earwig Identification & Biology

By DoMyOwnPestControl.com staff

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Identification & Biology

Also Known As: Pincher bug

Physical Appearance

Earwigs are beetle-like, short-winged, ½ to 1 inch in length, and move quickly. The abdomen generally ends in a pair of "cerci", which look like forceps or pincers, but these are not always present. When earwigs have wings, they are folded under forewings in a complex fashion. Earwigs rarely fly.

Behavior & Habitat

Earwigs prefer damp conditions and are often found in and around sinks and bathrooms, but also can be found hiding under baseboards, in shady cracks and openings, under piles of magazines or newspapers, inside waste bins and around pet food dishes. Earwigs stay mostly hidden during the day and forage actively at night.

Feeding Habits

Earwigs typically eat other insects, plants, garbage, and ripe fruit.

Life Cycle

The adult female Earwig lays about between 20 to 60 eggs in burrows a few inches beneath the soil which will hatch into nymphs in about 7 days time. After passing through 6 nymphal stages, the earwig finally becomes an adult. On average, the total life cycle lasts about 56 days.


Earwigs are pests mostly by their presence and diet. They emit a foul-smelling liquid when crushed. There is not any evidence that Earwigs transmit diseases or cause any other harm to humans or animals.


To reduce Earwig populations in your home or garden, try these tips:

1. Roll a dampened newspaper or magazine and leave it in a place where you suspect earwig activity. Once they are collected, the newspaper can then be thrown away or shaken out.

2. Since earwigs like vegetable oil, bury a pie tin in your garden up to the rim, and fill the inside with vegetable oil as another method of capture.

Professional Products for Earwig Control:


View additional Earwig Control Products

For more detailed information on Earwig prevention and control, see How To Get Rid of Earwigs


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