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What do earwigs look like?

two earwigs inside a tucson arizona home

Earwigs are typical insects with three body parts, six legs, and antennae. They can be winged or wingless and are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Their narrow, elongated bodies are brown to reddish brown. Some species squirt an odorous liquid for defense, which can be smelled if squished by humans. Cerci extending from the abdomen are forcep-like. This feature often intimidates people fearing they will be pinched, but in reality, the pinchers are unable to penetrate skin. The pinchers are larger and more curved in the males, they are used for a defensive and offensive weapon, and can be used to capture prey.

Habits of earwigs

  • Diet: Plants, earthworms or other insects
  • Activity: Nocturnal
  • Preferred Climate: Cooler temperatures
  • Defense: Pinchers, live in clusters and communicate through pheromone exchange.
  • Cautions: Harmless
  • Home Invasion: They typically live outdoors but occasionally will enter structures if environmental conditions are not adequate or food sources limited.

Are earwigs dangerous?

If picked up and/or agitated, earwigs may use their pincers. Though they may attack of provoked, they are not considered a dangerous pest. 

Where do earwigs nest?

Earwigs in Arizona often seek shelter under sidewalks or along dirt perimeters that border foundations. 

Helpful hints for earwigs

The best way to prevent an earwig problem is to keep these pests away from your home or structure. We recommend:

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