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Earwigs sometimes called pincer bugs are sometimes mistaken for scorpions by the untrained eye, but in truth they are much smaller and cannot sting anyone with the pincers located at the end of their abdomen. Earwigs can range in color from dark reddish-brown to black, with light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long. Earwigs can fly, but rarely do so.

Earwig Biology

The female earwig will deposit between 20 to 60 eggs burrows (called chambers), 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil. Earwigs undergo an average of 5 molts over the course of a year, their average life expectancy, before they become adults. An uncommon behavior in other insects, many earwig species display maternal care. Female earwigs are known to take care of their eggs, and even after they have hatched, she will continue to watch over her offspring until their second molt. As the nymphs molt, differences in pincer shapes begins to show.
Most species of earwigs will only have one generation a year, over-wintering in the soil. Moisture is required for all stages of growth for earwigs.


Earwigs are generally nocturnal and they can be found in small, dark, and very often moist areas during daylight hours. Earwigs tend to feed in the night hours and are considered to be mainly scavengers, eating primarily dead insects and decomposing plant materials. Some earwig species may be attracted to lights.
During the heat of the day, earwigs can be found hiding under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. Earwigs prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks, and stones.
Harborage Areas 
• Mulch
• Landscape fabrics (weed block)
• Leaf litter
• Under siding
• Under flower pots
• In and around landscape timbers
Harborage Areas 
• Rail road ties
• Low decks
• Fire wood
• Compost bins
• Waste bins
Earwigs find their way into homes through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation. Earwig populations can build up very quickly around the outside foundations and usually become one of the first pest problems in many new subdivisions.

Earwigs also live in habitats that also harbor other pests, like centipedes, millipedes, pill bugs, and sow bugs (known to kids as the roly-poly).

Because earwigs need moisture to survive, it is very important to eliminate or control any high moisture areas. Earwigs may be present, although hidden during the day around foundations, in mulch, under stones, boards, etc. Look for ways to eliminate damp moist conditions particularly around crawl spaces, faucets, and along the foundations.
Check the rain gutters and down spouts around your home and make sure the water is directed away from the foundation of the home. This will help on the control of many other insect pests that need moisture. Caulking or using other methods (weather seal, foam, etc.); seal up any possible entry points into your home such as doors, windows, pipes and other entry points at the ground level. Try creating a clean dry area immediately around the foundation wall of your home. Using gravel or ornamental stone can make an attractive barrier against earwigs and other insect pests that may invade your home.
Earwig Control

Removing or modify any earwig habitat is important in the control of all insects, including earwigs.
A & E recommends that you do most of your earwig control on the outside of your home. We will use Maxforce Insect Granules or Niban for the main part of our treatment as we have found the baits work very well in the control of earwigs and other insect pests. We use several resduial insecticides if quicker control is desired. Even when using most liquid residuals we will use baits to help maintain control. Applications around the building foundation, flower beds, mulch areas and turf within a 6 to 8 foot band around the base of the building, as well as in the crawl space areas of the home. Treat 1 to 2 feet up on the foundation, around windows, around doors and any other entry point into the home.
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Doing Your Own Pest Control for the Home Owner

A&E's Do It Yourself Pest Control    |    Winder, GA    |    1-800-607-0701    |

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