Earwigs are fairly common. They are rarely noticed except after prolonged periods of a year or more with wet weather. Earwigs are relatively easy to identify by the prominent pincers or forceps on the end of the abdomen. On females the pincers are fairly straight, while male pincers are more curved and caliper-like. These pincers are used as both offensive and defensive weapons. Though they may try to pinch if captured and handled, they do not harm people. The common earwig is about 5/8 inch long and dark brown with a reddish head and pale yellow-brown legs.
Earwigs are outdoor insects usually found in damp areas, such as under mulch, dead leaves, logs, and piles of firewood, boards, stones and other debris or in rotted wood where they feed on moist, decaying plant material. Though earwigs occasionally attack living plants, including vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants, they are considered only minor pests of plants. Like boxelder bugs, crickets and lady beetles, the earwig is a household pest as an accidental invader. They enter houses either by accident or when seeking shelter, especially in the fall or during periods of prolonged dry weather. Earwigs inside the house do not cause any harm or destruction.
They are an annoyance or nuisance because of their presence. If disturbed, earwigs may produce a noticeable foul odor. Earwigs found inside the house can be swept or picked up and discarded. Indoor treatment with household residual insecticides such as for cockroaches could be used in cracks and crevices that serve as points of entry, and along baseboards, window sills and door thresholds. Such treatments may provide limited benefit as more earwigs may wander in from outdoors.
Look for ways to eliminate damp moist conditions particularly around crawl spaces, faucets, and along the foundations.
Rain gutters and downspouts should direct water away from the house foundation.
Caulk or use weather stripping at all possible entry points such as doors, windows, pipes and other entry points at the ground level.
Change landscaping by creating a clean, dry border immediately around the foundation wall. Gravel or ornamental stones can make an attractive barrier against earwigs and other pest invaders.