5 Most Common Questions About Earwigs

5 Most Common Questions About Earwigs

All pest names seem a little bit sinister, but the thought of an “earwig” gives us the creeps before we even see the crawlies. Earwig means “ear creature”, and the name itself almost sounds threatening—as though the bugs will inevitably end up inside your head! Thankfully, unlike “head lice,” the name isn’t literal. Despite the old wives’ tale, earwigs don’t crawl in your ears and burrow in your brain. Whew! Truthfully, it’s not really known why these little guys got pegged as the “ear creatures” over any other pest.

Will earwigs bite me?

They can bite humans, but they usually don’t. Those menacing-looking pinchers (called cerci) on the posterior are actually used to capture prey and defend themselves, generally against predators. If an earwig were to bite you with its mouth, the bite would be very small and shouldn’t cause any lasting discomfort. And don’t worry—they’re non-venomous. Since they live in dirt, they can be vehicles for infection and allergens, so be sure to clean any bites if they happen.


What does an earwig look like?

A tiny, brown, nocturnal, omnivorous bug that’s about the length of your thumbnail. Earwigs do have wings, but interestingly enough, they rarely use them. *Sigh* What a waste! Instead, they lazily hitch rides on cars or are carried on objects such as books or cut flowers. Seemingly at odds with this laziness are those cerci, earwigs’ most notorious feature. Those long pinchers are attached to their rear and act like forceps—no thank you!

outdoor junk

Where are earwigs in my yard?

If you suspect earwig activity, look for unusual damage to seedling plants and holes in soft fruit. Other traces include webbing, excrement, or pupae. Because they require a food source, earwigs may simply hitch a ride elsewhere if you remove certain items from the yard such as ground covers (including ivy), weeds, and piles of leaves or trash. (Tip: This is also great for controlling flies.) Regularly prune and pick any fruits or vegetables. Reducing or eliminating surface moisture is also very important, especially near entry points to your home.


If you want to step things up and go on the offensive, consider creating a trap using a shallow can partially filled with oil and bacon grease. Bury the can rim-level in the ground so the earwigs will crawl in. They then won’t be able to crawl out. Hopefully, this vigilance keeps earwig activity at bay and prevents the next question…

child with a dog

Why are earwigs in my house?

If preventative measures proved unsuccessful and you’ve begun to see earwigs inside, a serious infestation may be beginning. They love to feed in dark, cool, moist places, making your pantry the perfect escape during those hot summer months. Once they invade, earwigs can also get into your bedding, laundry, furniture, and even inside the walls. Yikes. Even worse, evicting them can be very tricky. If earwigs breached your home’s perimeter, you’re undoubtedly asking:

no bugs sign

How do I get rid of them?

That’s where we come in! Nothing is worse than fighting a losing battle. As with any pest, an effective long-term treatment plan always takes into account their breeding cycles. Earwigs mate in early fall and return to underground nests before hatching eggs in two stages. The first round, laid in early spring, takes around 70 days to hatch. The second batch, laid in early summer, only takes around 20 days to hatch thanks to warmer weather. If you had earwigs nest during fall, it may take a couple specialized treatments during spring and summer to take care of all the earwigs once they’ve hatched.

We’ll always customize your treatment to the specific needs of you and your home. If you think earwigs may be invading, give us a call for a free quote. We’re here to help!