Currently viewing the category: "Earwigs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I found this bug in a comforter that had been sitting on the carpet a couple days. First, I thought it might be a pantry beetle, but I’m not sure pantry beetles have a pincher at the end. It looks like it would REALLY hurt if this thing bit someone. Can you help me identify it so I will know how to proceed with extermination?

At last, a reader has sent in a photo of an earwig. You don’t need an exterminator. They are sometimes attracted to lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Found bug crawling out from a crack in my wall, the house it like 50 or so years old….. Live in Kentucky it is light brown six legs antennas and pinchers on the back, it can curl up and when it flips over its lighter brown torwards the front of it. Thanks

Dear Kentucky,
I believe you have an earwig which can get quite plentiful in damp locations. We have additional information on our site.

Greetings,
We have this weird bug in the house that I have not been able to identify in any of the "household pest" lists, so maybe you can help.
It’s a warm weather bug, starts out small (1/2 inch) at the beginning of the season and now is an inch to an inch and half. They seem to come out mostly at night, but we have seen a few during the day. The body has 2 segments, blackish brown with lighter colored legs on each side and can crawl fairly fast across the carpet or up on the walls. The weirdest part is a tail that looks kind of like a crab claw or a pincher that’s the same color of the legs. It can be up or down, open or closed. I believe they originally came from the outside like the lady bugs and the box-elder bugs, but once they got in, they haven’t left. We don’t see them in the winter, but I don’t think they’ve actually left; they’re probably just dormant then. Any info would be helpful. Thank you for your time and attention,
–Julie

Hi Julie,
You have earwigs. We at What’s That Bug have gotten many questions about earwigs since beginning this column. They belong to the order Dermaptera.
They frequent debris piles, stacks of lumber, compost piles and rocks that can be overturned. It is believed that their common name originates from the Anglo-Saxon word earwicga (ear worm) since they often found their way into the ears of sleepers on straw mattresses in sod huts. Their outstanding physical characteristic is the forcep pincers on the rear end of the abdomen. Earwigs are active a night. They can be attracted to lights and one species in particular, the European Earwig (Forficula auricularia), which has wings that are hidden under wing shields, is often a nuisance indoors. Despite having wings, they rarely fly, preferring to keep the wings hidden from view and to scuttle about in the dark. Though earwigs have an undeserved reputation for being garden pests since they sometimes chew tender young plants, they prefer to eat other insects, and are, in fact, beneficial. I think an internet search for earwig will provide you with photos that support my identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear What’s That Bug,
I have densely planted the "earth" in front of my apartment building. Along with broken glass and mammalian excreta, one of the chief components, by volume, of this earth is earwigs. These can be readily observed with a flashlight after dark, teeming about. Many plants are unaffected. However, some will be set upon at a young age and razed entirely – a four inch high clump of poppies will easily be eliminated in two nights. I don’t know why some small plants are attacked and not others of similar size and age. Just as frustrating is the earwigs’ appetite for flower petals which are quickly riddled with holes and finally eaten to shreds soon after they unfold to the sun. Diatomaceous earth doesn’t slow them down (in any quantity). I don’t want to spray "poison" – What can I do?

Dear m r k n
According to Hogue, no one is sure of the origin of the name earwig (Order Dermaptera) but "one guess is that the early Anglo-Saxons, who named them earwicga (ear beetle or worm) and who lived in sod huts, where these insects also lived, occasionally found them in their ears upon waking from a sound sleep on a straw mattress. The warm and tight ear opening of a slumbering person might well have been a snug hiding place for these crevice-loving creatures." Earwigs are omniverous, and are considered beneficial because they actually devour many insect pests, but like any flesh eater, they
occasionally crave some vegetable matter, and what better than tender young sprouts and flower petals? If you have an aversion to pesticides, we strongly suggest that you clean up the dog shit outside your apartment
.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination