What do earwigs look like?

Depending on the species, earwigs could have dark brown bodies with light brown legs or appear almost black. All earwigs have large pincers (also called cerci or forceps) protruding from the end of their abdomens.

earwig on deck

When are earwigs most active?

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Do earwigs really crawl into ears?

There is a myth that earwigs crawl into the ear canal of sleeping humans and lay their eggs. Some myths take it one step further and have earwigs tunneling to the brain. We are happy to say that they don't do either of these things. An earwig will not lay eggs in your ear because there is no food source readily available for its offspring. As for tunneling to the brain, it couldn't if it wanted to. An earwig can't tunnel through flesh.

What do earwigs eat?

These insects are omnivores. They primarily feed on decaying plant matter, but they also enjoy consuming soft leaves and ripe fruits. They will also prey on insects and other bugs, both alive and dead. If given the opportunity, they will rummage through your trash for food. However, they are most commonly found in your landscaping or garden, where they offer some benefits by reducing the number of plant-damaging pests. Unfortunately, they can also be problematic by consuming seedlings and creating small, ragged holes in soft plant tissue.

Do earwigs bite?

The pincers at the end of an earwig's abdomen may look dangerous, but they are weak and cannot break human skin. If you disturb an earwig, you might get pinched, but it won't cause any significant harm. These pincers are also not venomous.

Are earwigs dangerous?

Insects can present a danger to humans without biting them. For example, many pests pick up harmful microorganisms in trash, sewers, and other unsanitary places. These are spread to counters, cutting boards, plates, and stored food. Earwigs don't do this. There is no indication that they go from trash receptacles, compost, decaying organic piles, pet waste, or other unsanitary things to kitchens and pantries. Earwigs do not pose a risk to human health. 

What attracts earwigs?

Many conditions can attract earwigs, including but not limited to:

  • Yards with high insect populations.
  • Exterior lights that attract other insects.
  • Damp conditions.
  • Overgrowth, tall grass, landscape vegetation, and gardens.
  • Plant debris, leaves, compost, and other organic materials.
  • Shaded areas.
  • Yard clutter.

If you need assistance evaluating the conditions in your yard that might attract earwigs and other pests, remember that your Anti-Pest is here to help.

How do you get rid of earwigs?

Contact Anti-Pest if you’ve found earwigs in your structure or on your property. Our locally owned and family-operated pest control company has been solving pest problems in Northwest Louisiana since 1950 and is ready to help you. Whether you’re looking for home pest control services or commercial pest management, we’re the local company to call!

How can I prevent earwigs?

The first step you can take to prevent problems with earwigs is to remove and address conducive conditions. As you can guess, starting by addressing the attracts outlined above is helpful.

  • Consider swapping white exterior lights with yellow lights or replacing them with motion-detecting bulbs.
  • Address plumbing issues, trim vegetation, keep your grass cut low, and clear out gutter clogs to reduce moisture.
  • Remove plant clippings, leaves, and other organic debris from your yard.
  • Keep your compost in a covered container.
  • Remove clutter in your yard to give earwigs and other pests fewer objects to hide under.
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