Earwig – European Earwig

Have scary-looking pincers and look very aggressive, but they don’t bite, don’t crawl inside your ears, and are actualy pretty harmless! Earwigs are generally speaking more of a garden pest than a problem indoors.

In fact, in small numbers they are quite a beneficial kind of insect, feeding off decaying vegetation and organic matter as well as aphids and other common insect herbivores that can wreak havoc on your seedlings and buds.

However, when their numbers get out of control earwigs will also feed of roots, shoots, leaves, buds, petals and other plant parts, creating the same kind of damage to your garden as slugs but without leaving a shiny trail behind.

Earwigs don’t normally become a problem until living conditions are so ideal that the population explodes out of control. This usually occurs where there is an abundance of damp, decaying vegetation for them to feed off, and plenty of moist, dark areas in which to hide and breed.

Male Earwig with Curved Pincers

Male Earwig with Curved Pincers

How to deal with earwigs

As with most insect pests, the best way to deal with earwigs is to eliminate the original infestation and then take measures to change the environment so that another population explosion cannot occur.

If the problem is in your yard, this will involve removing all decaying vegetation, leaves, branches, firewood piles or other organic material that is providing shelter and sustenance from around your premises and making sure that it is disposed of outside your property.

If the earwig infestation is actually in your garage or basement, you will have to get rid of all damp boxes, old newspapers or other materials in which the earwigs are living, and repair whatever is leaking or dripping to create the moist habitat conditions that earwigs prefer.

You will also have to check for any cracks, crevices or other entry points, particularly around windows, under doors, through unscreened vents, etc, where earwigs might crawl in particularly in hot, dry summers in search of cooler, darker living conditions.

It is important to keep earwig control measures in place for at least 70 days in order to eliminate any immature nymphs or eggs that hatch in the soil before they have time to evolve into mature adults.

To find out more about exterminating earwig infestations and using integrated pest management methods to prevent future earwig population explosions, please contact Pest Free Living of Toronto.

We have wide experience dealing with all types of animal pests throughout the GTA, particularly in the areas of Brampton, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Markham and other nearby neighbourhoods, and will be delighted to assist.

For a free quote, or to arrange a call-out inspection and visit, please telephone 416-321-5060 or contact us online.

Pest Free Living: we specialize in eradicating earwigs, cockroaches, fleas, bed-bugs and any other small insect pests that are making your life a misery.

Facts you didn’t know about earwigs

  • Males have curved pincers, females have straight.

  • Despite their wings, earwigs rarely fly.

  • Females lay 60 eggs at two sittings during spring and summer each year.

  • Eggs hatch after about a week. The female will protect her eggs and the emerging nymphs for the first two weeks of their lives.

  • Earwigs can live for up to a year but the males usually die off during the colder months of winter.

Turn over a decaying tree stump or a pile of long-dead leaves, for example, and the chances are that you will see hundreds of earwigs scurrying away to get out of the bright daylight.

The rare times that earwigs venture indoors is usually by mistake – brought in on some garden vegetables or inside a flower bud perhaps, or stuck at the bottom of an old damp box that you bring in from a little-used outdoor storage area.