Earwigs are dark reddish-brown insects, about ½ inch to 1 inch long, with prominent claw-like pinchers located on the end of their abdomen. The pinchers are mainly used as a defense weapon against predators, but can also be utilized to capture prey.


Earwigs quickly consume young seedlings, eat small holes in both flowers and foliage of annuals and vegetables, and can damage soft fruit like strawberries. They feed mostly at night and hide in moist, dark places during the day. Earwigs will sometimes invade the home, especially during hot weather or drought-like conditions. They don't cause real damage to the home, but are a nuisance and may pinch when provoked. Some species can release a foul smelling pheromone that attracts other Earwigs.


Earwigs are found throughout the United States.

Similar or Related Pests

Roaches, Rove Beetle

Cultural Solutions

  • Earwig numbers can be reduced by trapping. Place rolled up newspaper, pieces of cardboard or similar material around the garden. Collect them each day and dispose of the earwigs into a bucket of soapy water.
  • Earwigs can also be trapped with small containers (cat food cans) filled with some type of fish oil. Push the container into the ground so its level with the surrounding soil and empty daily. 
  • Remove damp leaf litter which acts as harborage for them.
  • Keep your home, yard and garden sanitary.
  • Patch cracks in windows or doors.