Updated: June 10, 2023

Earwigs, also known as pincher bugs, are a common insect found in gardens and homes. They are known for their distinctive pincers on their abdomen, but what do they eat? In this article, we will discuss the diet of earwigs and provide a comprehensive guide on what these insects consume.

What Do Earwigs Eat?

Earwigs are omnivorous insects, which means they eat both plants and other insects. Their diet varies depending on the availability of food in their habitat. The primary diet of earwigs includes:

1. Plants

Earwigs feed on a wide range of plant material, including flowers, fruits, leaves, and stems. They tend to prefer decaying plant matter over fresh plants. Earwigs are known to damage garden vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, and potato plants.

2. Insects

Earwigs eat other insects, such as aphids, mites, and caterpillars. They are considered beneficial insects because they help control pest populations in gardens.

3. Dead Insects

Earwigs also feed on dead insects and other animals they come across.

How Do Earwigs Feed?

Earwigs use their pincers to catch and hold their prey while they feed. They have a chewing mouthpart that allows them to eat both plant material and other insects. Earwigs prefer to feed at night and hide during the day.

Why Are Earwigs Considered Pests?

While earwigs are beneficial for controlling pest populations in gardens, they can become pests when they invade homes. Earwigs can enter homes through cracks in the walls or windows and can be found hiding in dark, damp areas such as basements or bathrooms.

How Can You Control Earwig Infestations?

There are several methods for controlling earwig infestations in and around your home:

1. Remove Attractants

Earwigs are attracted to moisture, so removing any standing water or leaky pipes can help reduce their presence. Additionally, removing piles of debris or lawn clippings can eliminate potential hiding places for earwigs.

2. Seal Entry Points

Sealing any cracks or gaps in walls, windows, and doors can prevent earwigs from entering your home.

3. Use Traps

Sticky traps or pitfall traps can be used to capture earwigs. These traps can be placed in areas where earwig infestations are common, such as basements or bathrooms.

4. Chemical Treatments

Insecticides can be used to control earwig populations. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take necessary precautions when using these products.


Q: Are earwigs harmful to humans?

A: Earwigs are not harmful to humans. While they have pincers, they rarely use them on people and do not carry any diseases.

Q: Can earwigs fly?

A: No, earwigs cannot fly.

Q: Do earwigs bite?

A: Earwigs have mouthparts that are capable of biting, but they rarely bite humans.

Q: What is the lifespan of an earwig?

A: The lifespan of an earwig is typically one year.

In conclusion, earwigs are omnivorous insects that feed on both plants and other insects. While they can be beneficial in gardens for controlling pest populations, they can become pests when they invade homes. By removing attractants, sealing entry points, using traps, or chemical treatments, you can control earwig populations in and around your home.