Earwigs are a common nuisance pest here in Ontario from mid-June to October. They are found to be quite grotesque and scary in appearance. The typical earwig is dark brown with a long, flattened body around 1.5 to 2 cm long and pincers on the end of the abdomen. Their head is a reddish colour and they have with a reddish head, pale yellow-brown legs. Their pincers are used to as defensive and offensive weapons. While they may try to pinch a human if they are touched, their pincers are not strong enough to peirce skin. They are harmless to humans.

Earwigs are nocturnal bugs that prefer to be active at night and hide in shady, damp areas during the day, like under mulch, firewood piles or stones or under dead leaves and rotting wood logs, where they feed on decaying organic matter, garden pests or other insects. 

Earwigs invade homes and businesses through windows and doors by mistake or when the weather becomes too hot and dry for prolonged periods of time. Once indoors they seek out places that are cool, damp, dark and offer ample food (like other earwigs, dead insects and spiders).

Getting rid of earwigs is best done by making your home or business less appealing to them.  Here are some tips for how to get rid of earwigs:

  • Use a dehumidifier in your basement to keep it dry
  • Fix leaks inside and outside of your home or building
  • Minimize the amount of mulch and decorative stones used in landscaping
  • Regularly collect and dispose of leaf litter and other organic materials.
  • Seal up cracks around entry points
  • Replace broken screens
  • Use weatherstripping around doors and windows.

Large infestations indoors are very uncommon, but they can occur. If you are are struggling with getting rid of an earwig infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional to help.