Updated: March 30, 2023

Earwigs are a type of insect that are often associated with their long, slender bodies and pincers on their abdomen. However, these insects are also known for their unique feeding habits. In this article, we will explore how earwigs eat and what they like to consume.

Anatomy of an Earwig

Before delving into the feeding habits of earwigs, it is important to understand their anatomy. Earwigs have three main body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They have two pairs of wings, but only the hind wings are functional. Earwigs also have six legs and two antennae on their head.

The pincers on an earwig’s abdomen are called cerci, and they are primarily used for defense rather than feeding. Earwigs also have a pair of forceps-like appendages known as the mandibles that they use for chewing.

What Do Earwigs Eat?

Earwigs are omnivores, meaning they consume both plant and animal matter. They are also opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat whatever is available to them.

In the wild, earwigs can be found feeding on a variety of foods such as aphids, mites, and other small insects. They also consume decomposing plant material and fruits. Earwigs have been known to damage crops such as lettuce, strawberries, and corn.

Feeding Habits of Earwigs

Earwigs are nocturnal insects, which means they are most active at night. They prefer to feed in dark and damp areas such as under rocks or in crevices.

Earwigs use their mandibles to chew their food before swallowing. They have a relatively weak digestive system compared to other insects, so they require a high protein diet to survive.

When food is scarce, earwigs have been known to cannibalize each other. This behavior is more common in overcrowded environments or when their food sources are limited.

How Earwigs Find Food

Earwigs use their sense of smell and touch to locate food. They have small sensory hairs on their antennae that can detect the odors of potential food sources. Earwigs also have a strong preference for dark and damp environments, which is where they are most likely to find food.


Are earwigs harmful to humans?

Earwigs are not dangerous to humans. They do not carry any diseases, and their pincers are too small and weak to cause any harm.

How do I get rid of earwigs?

If you have a problem with earwigs in your home, there are several ways to get rid of them. You can use sticky traps or insecticides to control their population. Keeping your home dry and free of clutter can also help keep earwigs away.

Do earwigs fly?

Earwigs have wings, but they are not strong flyers. They primarily use their wings for short distance flights or gliding.

Can earwigs swim?

Earwigs are capable of swimming, but they prefer to stay near damp areas rather than fully submerged in water.


In conclusion, earwigs are omnivorous insects that feed on a variety of foods. They prefer dark and damp environments and use their sense of smell and touch to locate food. While they may be considered a nuisance in some situations, earwigs play an important role in the ecosystem by consuming decomposing plant material and controlling insect populations.