Actual Size: ¼ to 1”

Characteristics: Flat and narrow body that is brown to black in color.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Pincers: Yes

Wings: Some have wings, but they rarely fly.

Habitat: Drawn to high-moisture areas and often harbor beneath rocks, logs, and organic debris.


  • Can be easily identified by the pair of forceps-like pincers on their abdomen.
  • Contrary to their name, these insects do not crawl into people’s ears.
  • Capable of burrowing over six feet into the ground to escape from cold.


Earwigs in your area

Though it was once a common superstition that earwigs would crawl into people’s ears as they sleep, these insects are actually harmless to humans. Despite their frightening pincer, earwigs are not aggressive and rarely pinch unless they feel threatened. Instead, these insects spend their time burrowing in dark and damp areas, often beneath the ground. They primarily feed on small and soft insects, like flies and aphids, or plant matter. Earwigs are most common in the southern and southwestern regions of the United States, and they primarily remain outdoors.

Earwig Habitat

Earwigs are nocturnal insects that typically burrow beneath the ground. Though these insects do not build large nests or live in colonies, males and females may overwinter together in underground nests. Earwigs primarily feed on small insects and a wide variety of plant matter, including flies, aphids, leaves, and fungi. Since earwigs prefer to hide in dark and high-moisture areas, they are often found in areas such as near swimming pools, in flower beds, or beneath outdoor potted plants. If carried indoors, they are usually drawn to bathrooms and kitchens.

Earwig Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Earwigs are not aggressive insects and they are not known to bite or spread disease. And, though they can pinch, their pincers are unlikely to break the skin and typically only result in a small welt. Though earwigs are not dangerous to humans, they can be a bother if they enter your home or begin to chew on your garden’s plants. Earwigs typically remain outdoors, but they may accidentally be carried inside. Since these insects are small and expert diggers, they can also slip through small cracks while searching for water or shelter. If you keep encountering earwigs on your property or in your home, it may be time to call your local pest control professionals to remove these pests.