An earwig is an insect that looks more dangerous than it is. Its large set of pinchers will scare some people while others think they are cockroaches. Fortunately, earwigs are harmless to humans - they only eat plants and won't bite, though they may pinch you with their pincers if they feel threatened. Additionally, the old superstition that says earwigs purposefully climb into people's ears as they sleep to lay eggs simply isn't true. Even though earwigs don't damage your home or cause you harm, you probably don't want them in your home, as they may give off an unpleasant odor and can be an annoying pest to find scurrying around your floor. Learn why earwigs want to come into your house and how to remove them with advice from the pros at MosquitoNix® and our Pest Library.


Earwigs are of the order Dermaptera and are a nocturnal insect. They have a slender body that's about an inch long with a deep reddish-brown color. If you're wondering if the insect you're seeing is an earwig or cockroach, you can distinguish earwig insects from cockroaches by the noticeable pinchers protruding from their hind end: males have curved pinchers and females have straight pinchers. Earwigs are also longer and narrower than cockroaches, which tend to be rounder. Earwigs are not venomous but will pinch when disturbed.

Earwigs have wings but do not fly. These scavengers are attracted to moist and warm areas and they tend to stay outdoors. However, if the weather is dry for long periods or if cold temperatures persist, earwigs may enter a residence to find food, moisture and shelter. These insects tend to hide during the day, coming out at night to feed on decaying organic matter, other insects and plants. They do not colonize, preferring to live as solitary creatures.

Breeding Habits

Unlike most insects, female earwigs are doting mothers. They lay 30 to 60 eggs at a time in shallow tunneled nests, then spend the entire gestation period with the eggs, eating mold off them to keep them clean. How long do earwigs live? Eggs usually hatch in the spring, and an average earwig lifespan is about one year, though they can live up to three. Like cockroaches, newborns are called nymphs and molt as they develop into adulthood.


Earwigs are found all over the world and on every continent except Antarctica. There are over 20 species of earwigs just in the U.S. alone, and all share similar physical characteristics. They prefer warm, dark, moist areas, such as leaf piles, firewood stacks and wet or rotting paper or cardboard. This makes the underside of kitchen and bathroom sinks prime locations for earwigs, as well as damp basements or crawlspaces.

Solutions for Earwigs in Your Home

Because earwigs behave a lot like cockroaches and occupy many of the same dark, damp areas in a home, it's possible you have cockroaches in your home if you see earwigs. The large pincers on the earwig's body help to distinguish these insects from cockroaches. Earwigs must also be removed and eliminated similar to cockroaches.

Eliminating earwigs that have moved into your home is a challenging process. The first important step is removing matter for them to feed on by keeping your house clean, but this alone won't remove an infestation. It takes just the right equipment and treatment options to ensure that you'll eliminate all the earwigs you can and cannot see. MosquitoNix® has the professional know-how to end your earwig problem for good. Contact our friendly customer service team for a free estimate.