Updated: March 30, 2023

When it comes to insect infestations, termites are often considered the top offenders. These tiny insects can cause significant damage to wooden structures and homes, leading to costly repairs and extermination efforts. However, recent studies have shed light on an unexpected player in termite infestations: earwigs.

Earwigs, also known as pincher bugs, are common garden insects that are known for their distinctive pincers at the end of their abdomens. While they are not typically associated with termite infestations, researchers have discovered that earwigs are often found living alongside termites in their nests.

So, what is the connection between earwigs and termite nests? Let’s take a closer look.

The Role of Earwigs in Termite Nests

Earwigs are not parasitic insects that feed on termites or wood. Instead, they appear to be commensal insects that benefit from living in close proximity to termite colonies. Researchers have found that earwigs often use termite nests as a source of shelter and protection from predators.

In some cases, earwigs have been observed living in the same tunnels and galleries as termites. They may even feed on leftover food scraps or dead termites within the nest. In exchange, earwigs may provide a form of pest control by preying on other insects that may be harmful to the termite colony.

How Earwigs Get into Termite Nests

Earwigs are small and agile insects that can easily slip into small cracks and crevices. In some cases, they may simply wander into a termite nest accidentally. However, researchers have also found evidence that earwigs actively seek out termite nests as a source of shelter and protection.

One study found that earwigs were more likely to enter a termite nest that had been damaged or disturbed, suggesting that they may be attracted to the scent or chemical signals released by the termites in response.

The Impact of Earwigs on Termite Infestations

While earwigs may not actively feed on termites, their presence in termite nests can have both positive and negative effects.

On the one hand, earwigs may help to control other insect pests within the nest, which could potentially reduce the overall burden on the termite colony. However, earwigs may also compete with termites for resources such as food and shelter. In some cases, earwig populations may grow large enough to cause damage to wooden structures and homes.

Furthermore, earwigs may also serve as a vector for disease transmission within termite nests. Some species of earwigs are known carriers of pathogenic bacteria and fungi that could infect and harm termites.


Earwigs may not be the first insect that comes to mind when you think of termite infestations, but their presence in termite nests is more common than previously thought. While the exact nature of their relationship with termites is still being studied, it is clear that earwigs can have both positive and negative impacts on termite colonies.

If you suspect that you have a termite infestation in your home or property, it is important to seek professional assistance from a pest control expert. They can help identify the extent of the infestation and develop a treatment plan to eradicate the termites and any associated pests.


Q: Are all earwigs attracted to termite nests?

A: No, not all earwigs are attracted to termite nests. Only certain species have been observed living in close proximity to termites.

Q: Can earwigs cause damage to wooden structures like termites?

A: While earwigs are not typically known for causing damage to wooden structures, large populations may cause damage over time.

Q: Should I be concerned if I find earwigs in my home?

A: Earwigs are generally considered nuisance pests and do not pose a significant threat to human health or property. However, if you are concerned about an infestation, it is best to seek the advice of a pest control professional.