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What Do Earwigs Look Like?

image of an earwig earwig bugs can earwigs fly
Roughly the size of a penny, earwigs are dark or reddish-brown with six legs and flexible antennae. The pests also have short wings, though they don’t often fly. All earwigs have large pincers on the end of their abdomens. Rounded pincers indicate a male earwig while females have straight pincers.

How Can I Tell if I Have an Earwig Problem?

Earwigs prefer the outdoors, but they will enter a home or business if the conditions are right. Dark, moist areas combined with insect carcasses and other organic matter provide the pests with food and shelter. A few indications that you might have an earwig issue include:

  • Sight – Spotting this insect indoors under bathroom sinks, in basements, inside flower pots, or around other damp places is evidence of a possible infestation.
  • Smell – When threatened, earwigs emit a foul-smelling odor to scare away predators. The higher the earwig population, the more likely you are to notice this strong scent.
  • Damage – The pests eat everything from potted plants to flour and baked bread. Keep an eye out for torn food packaging in pantries as well as holes in leaves and flower petals.

How Do Earwigs Get Inside Homes and Businesses?

Cracks in foundations and gaps around windowsills are common entry points for earwigs. They also get into homes through loose screens and doorframes. Once indoors, these nocturnal insects hide in small crevices or under furniture until nightfall.

Businesses like warehouses and grocery stores that receive shipments in cardboard boxes often have to deal with earwig infestations. The pests live in these containers and move from one place to another. Since earwigs shelter near wood and vegetation, greenhouses and shops that sell firewood are prone to issues as well.

Are Earwigs Dangerous?

While earwigs do have pincers, they are not strong enough to penetrate human skin. Also, this pest doesn’t cause damage to buildings or other structures, but they are an unsightly nuisance in the home. Outdoors, the pests are quite destructive to plants and flowers. Severe infestations can destroy entire gardens.

Apartment complexes and condos located near parks and forests may experience earwig problems, leading to upset tenants and poor reviews. Similarly, restaurants, retail chains, and food storage facilities can lose revenue if the insects contaminate stored goods and other products.

How Can I Prevent Earwig Infestations?

Sealing holes and cracks around buildings, clearing lawns of woodpiles or debris, and fixing damaged pipes helps reduce the presence of earwigs. Since they are active at night, you might not notice the insects until populations get out of control. If you suspect an earwig infestation in your home or commercial space, call Waltham Pest Services and speak to a professional about removal.

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