Earwigs are reddish-brown, approximately 1 cm in length, and have antennae and a noticeable set of pincers which protrude from the abdomen. The pincers of the male are curved whereas those of the female are straight. Earwigs have wings but they are rarely used for flying.

Habits & Behaviours

Earwigs are one of the most disliked insects and can be found outside and sometimes inside our residential, recreational/cottage, and commercial properties throughout Ontario. Earwigs migrate in groups and prefer to live in dark, moist areas beneath stones, boards, sidewalks and debris. They prefer to live outside, but when food is scarce and climate dry, they may enter properties through existing holes and cracks or on humans in search of food and damp conditions. They are most common in the warm summer months, June, July and, August and become dormant during the winter. Noctural, they are mostly active at night, which can make them difficult to detect and see.

Complaints & Destruction

Earwigs prefer to live outside and are not known to cause significant property damage, however, they can cause extensive damage to vegetable and flower gardens. When earwigs do invade homes, they are more a nuisance as they can get into everything, including laundry, furniture, food, clothing, and bedding. They will hide in cracks and crevices throughout the home and are most likely to be found hiding in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, storage areas, and other damp, dark areas.

Major Risks & Dangers

There are no real risks or dangers associated with earwigs. Their pincers may look scary and dangerous, but they are not harmful and will not inflict anything more than a slight pinch.

Reproduction & Life Cycle

Earwigs mate in the late summer and fall. They lay dormant with their mates during the winter months. Males will leave the female before the spring when the female will lay her first brood of up to 60 eggs in a burrow she has excavated or in natural crevices in the soil. She may lay a second brood in the summer. The female guards the eggs from predators and constantly turns and cleans them until they hatch. In approximately 7 days, the eggs hatch and nymphs emerge. Earwigs live for approximately one year, but most often the males die during the winter months.

Eating Habits

Earwigs are omnivorous insects and primarily feed on a variety of plants and insects.

Treatment & Prevention

To eliminate and reduce the risk of earwigs invading your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, treatment and exclusion is the best prevention.

Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many treatment, exclusion, and prevention solutions.


The process of eliminating earwig infestations can be a difficult and lengthy. Infestations within your property usually require professional pest control measures with several treatments. If you suspect an earwig infestation within your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, it is best to let the professionals do the job of safely removing the insects. Please contact us today or see our Pest Control Services section for further information on the types of services and insect pest solutions we can provide.

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