​Earwigs in Homes

The following question was sent to the P&PDL diagnosticians here at Purdue University:

Question: I am a new homeowner under siege. Earwigs have invaded my house. I know they are harmless, yet they give my wife the Heebee Geebee's. How can I stop them from coming into my house? And by the way are those pinchers a scare tactic or do they really work?

Answer: Earwigs are a nuisance pest which can sometimes build up to high populations during warm weather. They are primarily nocturnal scavengers on decaying animal and plant material. Often they will occur along foundations of homes or under crawl spaces where it is cool and damp and enter homes through cracks and ducts. Mulched flower beds and compost pits are also a prime habitat. Chemical treatments in areas where the earwigs breed are most effective. Earwigs do not bite, but if handled, will attempt to pinch with their cerci (pinchers) which can be painful.

-Corey Gerber, entomology diagnostician