Updated: March 30, 2023

Earwigs are one of the most commonly found insects in gardens and homes. They are known for their distinctive appearance, with long pincers at the end of their abdomen. While they may look scary, earwigs are harmless to humans and can even be helpful in controlling pest populations. In this article, we will discuss earwigs and their emergence triggers.

What Are Earwigs?

Earwigs are insects that belong to the order Dermaptera. They are characterized by their elongated body shape and the pincers, or forceps, at the end of their abdomen. Earwigs can range in size from 5 to 25 millimeters in length, depending on the species. They have two pairs of wings, with the front pair being short and leathery while the hind pair is membranous and used for flight.

Earwigs are nocturnal creatures and are most active at night. During the day, they hide in dark, moist places such as under rocks, in cracks and crevices, or in leaf litter.

Are Earwigs Harmful?

Earwigs are not harmful to humans. While they do have pincers, they use them primarily for defense against predators and for mating purposes. Earwigs do not sting or bite humans.

In fact, earwigs can be beneficial to gardens by feeding on other insects such as aphids and mites. They also help break down organic matter in the soil.

What Triggers Earwig Emergence?

The emergence of earwigs is triggered by a combination of environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and light. Earwigs prefer moist environments with temperatures between 70°F and 85°F.

During dry periods or extreme heat, earwigs may seek out cooler and more humid environments such as inside homes or buildings. They may also be attracted to light, which can cause them to enter homes through windows or doors.

How Can You Control Earwigs?

There are several ways to control earwig populations in your home or garden. Here are some methods you can try:

  • Remove hiding places: Earwigs like to hide in dark, moist places such as under rocks, in cracks and crevices, or in leaf litter. Removing these hiding places can discourage earwigs from staying in your garden.
  • Reduce moisture: Earwigs prefer moist environments. Reducing moisture in your garden by watering plants in the morning and avoiding overwatering can help discourage earwigs.
  • Use insecticides: Insecticides can be used to control earwig populations. However, it is important to use them sparingly and according to the instructions on the label.
  • Use traps: Traps can be used to capture earwigs. You can make your own trap by placing rolled-up newspaper or cardboard tubes in your garden or home. Earwigs will crawl into the tubes and can be disposed of easily.


Q: Are earwigs harmful to plants?

A: While earwigs do feed on other insects that may harm plants, they may also feed on plant material such as leaves and flowers. In large populations, earwigs may cause damage to plants.

Q: Can earwigs fly?

A: Yes, earwigs have two pairs of wings with the hind pair being membranous and used for flight.

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

A: Signs of an earwig infestation include the presence of earwigs in your home or garden, damage to plants or plant material, and the presence of their shed skins.

In conclusion, while earwigs may look scary, they are harmless to humans and can even be beneficial to gardens by controlling pest populations. Understanding their emergence triggers and implementing control methods can help keep earwig populations in check.