Updated: March 30, 2023

Earwigs are insects that belong to the order Dermaptera. They are known for their long and slender bodies, with a pair of pincers at the end of their abdomen. These pincers, also known as forceps, can be intimidating to some people, but they are not dangerous. In fact, earwigs are harmless insects that play an important role in our ecosystem.

Anatomy of an Earwig

Earwigs have a distinct appearance, with their elongated bodies and long antennae. They range in size from 5 to 25 millimeters in length. The forceps at the end of their abdomen are used for defense and mating, but they do not pose a threat to humans.

Earwig bodies are divided into three parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. Their heads are small and feature two compound eyes and a pair of antennae. The thorax is where the six legs are attached, while the abdomen is where the forceps are located.

Behavior of Earwigs

Earwigs are primarily nocturnal insects and prefer to stay hidden during the day. They are often found in dark and damp places such as under rocks, logs, and debris. They are also known to inhabit flowerbeds and gardens.

Earwigs are omnivores and feed on a variety of things such as plants, insects, and other small creatures. They play an important role in controlling pest populations in gardens and crops.

During the mating season, male earwigs use their forceps to compete for female attention. Once a mate is chosen, earwigs will engage in prolonged mating that can last up to an hour.

Controlling Earwigs

While earwigs do not pose a threat to humans, they can be a nuisance when they invade homes or gardens in large numbers. Here are some ways to control earwig populations:

  • Remove debris and clutter around your home and garden to eliminate hiding places for earwigs
  • Keep your garden well-maintained and free of excess moisture to discourage earwigs from taking up residence
  • Use insecticides as a last resort, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions


Are earwigs dangerous?

No, earwigs are not dangerous. While they have pincers at the end of their abdomen, they do not pose a threat to humans.

Do earwigs bite?

Earwigs are capable of biting, but they do not bite humans unless they feel threatened or provoked.

How do I get rid of earwigs in my garden?

To get rid of earwigs in your garden, you can remove debris and clutter to eliminate hiding places. You can also use insecticides as a last resort.

Can earwigs fly?

No, earwigs cannot fly. They are ground-dwelling insects that move quickly on their six legs.

Do earwigs cause damage to plants?

Earwigs are omnivores and will feed on plants as well as insects. However, they usually only cause damage when populations are very high.