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What a strange name for a bug. This name originates from the old English from stories about how this insect burrows into people’s ears to lay its eggs. While this is not a normal practice of the earwig there have been reports of earwigs, spiders and other insects entering people’s ears. The earwig’s flat body allows it to squeeze into tight cracks and crevices and it readily find its way into homes. They prefer moist areas and hide there during the day becoming more active at night feeding on many different insects and plants.

Unlike most insects, the earwig stays with its eggs, and it cares for its young. If you roll over an old log or lift a planter you may see earwigs at different stages living together.

Earwigs are prevalent throughout the United States but are more common in the south. There are many species of earwigs worldwide but the most common in South Carolina is the European Earwig, a long brown insect about 5/8” long. This insect does have wings but rarely flies. The most distinguishing feature is probably the large pincers at the back of the abdomen. The females have straight pinchers and the males have pincers curved in towards each other. They nest underground during the winter.

Earwigs are an insect that is covered by our Quarterly Pest Management Program,