Updated: March 30, 2023

Earwigs are a common household pest that can be found across the United States. These insects are known for their long and slender bodies, as well as their pincers located on their abdomen. Although earwigs have been around for centuries, many people wonder when these pests first arrived in the United States. In this article, we will explore the arrival of earwigs and how they became a common household pest.

Earwig Arrival

It is believed that earwigs first arrived in the United States during the 19th century. These insects likely arrived in cargo ships from Europe and Asia, where they are native. Once in the United States, earwigs quickly spread and became a common pest in many households.

Earwigs prefer dark and moist environments, making them commonly found in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. They also feed on decaying plant material and insects, making gardens and outdoor areas prime locations for these pests.

Earwig Populations

As earwigs continue to thrive in the United States, their populations have increased significantly over the past few decades. This increase is due to a variety of factors, including urbanization, climate change, and human activity.

Urbanization has led to an increase in suitable habitats for earwigs. With more people living in cities and towns, there are more buildings and homes for earwigs to infest. Additionally, climate change has led to warmer temperatures throughout the year, allowing earwigs to survive and reproduce more frequently.

Human activity has also played a role in the increase of earwig populations. As people continue to travel across the globe, they inadvertently transport earwigs from one location to another. Additionally, the use of pesticides and insecticides has led to the development of resistant strains of earwigs.

Prevention and Control

Preventing and controlling earwig infestations can be challenging, but there are several steps homeowners can take. The following tips can help prevent earwigs from entering your home:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around doors and windows.
  • Install weather stripping on doors and windows.
  • Remove debris and clutter from around the perimeter of your home.
  • Keep your home clean and dry, especially in areas such as bathrooms and basements.
  • Repair leaking pipes and fixtures.

If you suspect an earwig infestation in your home, it is important to act quickly. The following methods can help control earwig populations:

  • Use sticky traps to capture earwigs.
  • Apply insecticide or pesticide sprays to affected areas.
  • Use diatomaceous earth, a natural powder that dehydrates and kills earwigs.
  • Call a pest control professional for more severe infestations.


Earwigs have been a common household pest in the United States for over a century. While their origins can be traced back to Europe and Asia, they have thrived in the United States due to a variety of factors. Although preventing and controlling earwig infestations can be challenging, homeowners can take several steps to reduce the likelihood of an infestation.


Q: Are earwigs harmful to humans?

A: Earwigs are not harmful to humans. While they do have pincers on their abdomen, they are not strong enough to cause any harm.

Q: What do earwigs eat?

A: Earwigs feed on decaying plant material and insects. They are also known to feed on other pests such as aphids and mites.

Q: Can I use essential oils to repel earwigs?

A: Some essential oils, such as peppermint oil and lavender oil, may help repel earwigs. However, their effectiveness is limited and may not be enough to prevent an infestation.

Q: How do I know if I have an earwig infestation?

A: Common signs of an earwig infestation include the presence of earwigs in and around your home, chewed or damaged plant material, and small holes or burrows in the ground.