--> Everything you need to know about earwigs



Earwigs, with their characteristic pincers at the back of their bodies, are among those creatures that spark both curiosity and a bit of apprehension. Yet, behind their intimidating appearance lies insects with intriguing behaviors and important ecological roles. This article invites you to discover everything there is to know about earwigs, separating myths from realities.


Introduction to Earwigs

Earwigs, or Dermaptera, are an order of insects easily recognizable by their cerci, or pincers, located at the end of their abdomen. Contrary to popular belief, they are harmless to humans and play a beneficial role in the ecosystem by feeding on small pest insects and decomposing organic matter.


Anatomy and Characteristics


Physical Description

Earwigs generally measure between 5 and 25 mm in length. Their body is elongated and flat, allowing them to sneak into very small spaces. The color of their exoskeleton ranges from yellowish-brown to black. Their most notable characteristic is undoubtedly their cerci, which in some species, are used for defense or during reproduction rituals.


Habitat and Lifestyle

These insects prefer moist environments and hide during the day under stones, in dead wood, or among plant debris. At night, they come out to feed. Earwigs are omnivores, primarily feeding on small insects, larvae, and decaying plant material.


Myths vs Realities


Myth: Earwigs climb into human ears

One of the most widespread myths about earwigs is that they can climb into human ears to lay their eggs. In reality, there is no scientific evidence supporting this idea. Although their name might suggest this behavior, it is a misunderstanding based on old beliefs and not on facts.


Reality: Beneficial garden allies

In reality, earwigs play a beneficial role in our gardens. They help control populations of aphids and other small insects harmful to plants. Their presence can therefore be a sign of your garden’s good health.


Reproduction and Life Cycle

Earwigs are among the few insects to exhibit devoted maternal behavior. The female lays between 20 and 80 eggs and actively protects them, cleaning the eggs to prevent fungal infections and defending them against predators. After hatching, the nymphs are also cared for by their mother until they are mature enough to fend for themselves.


How to Manage Their Presence?

Although beneficial, an excessive presence of earwigs can sometimes require management, especially if they enter dwellings. A few non-toxic methods include:

1) Maintain a clean garden, without excessive plant debris.
2) Use traps in which earwigs will seek refuge and can then be relocated.
3) Seal potential entry points into homes to prevent them from settling in.

Earwigs are fascinating creatures that deserve our attention and respect for their role in the ecosystem. By demystifying misconceptions, we can appreciate their beneficial presence in our gardens and learn to coexist peacefully with them.




Are earwigs dangerous to humans?

No, earwigs are harmless to humans and do not transmit any diseases.

How can I attract earwigs to my garden?

Maintaining a moist environment and providing hiding spots, like wood piles or stones, can encourage their presence.

Are earwigs harmful to my garden plants?

Although they may feed on plant material, their diet is primarily composed of pests, and they are considered beneficial to gardens.

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