Earwigs are easily recognizable by their pincers (forceps harmless to humans) at the ends of their abdomen. They are dark reddish-brown, with light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long. In a season, females reproduce up to 20-60 eggs laid in burrows (called chambers), about two to three inches beneath the soil. Most species have one generation a year, over-wintering in the soil. Both adults and the young require moisture to live.
Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night. They are scavengers, eating primarily dead insects and decomposing plant materials. Some earwig species are attracted to lights. During the day, earwigs will seek shelter under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. They prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks and stones. Earwigs can eat plants and do damage to field crops. They are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation. Their populations build up around foundations. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions. Earwigs live in habitats also harboring centipedes, sow bugs (pill bugs), and millipedes. Removing earwig habitats is very important to control all insects.
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