Earwigs are an order of winged insects with characteristic pincers or forceps on the end of their abdomens. The most common species in North America is called Forficula auricularia; these are known as common earwigs or pincher bugs. They are reddish brown and about half an inch (12–15 mm) long.

As omnivores, earwigs eat whatever organic material they can scavenge, anything from leaf litter to small insects. Earwigs rarely bite, though if you pick one up and handle it, it may try to pinch you. However, earwigs have no venom, and their pinch shouldn’t break the skin.

Outdoors, your yard may provide a substantial food source for these insects, and in large numbers they can be destructive garden pests. Earwigs are active at night, so they spend the daylight hours in hiding places like wood piles, mulch, and crevices in rocks. If your lawn has a lot of these features, plus plenty of plant debris and small insects to snack on, it’s ideal for an earwig infestation.

Additionally, earwigs prefer a temperate climate without substantial changes in temperature, so they may try to come indoors during the colder or wetter months. They’ll likely be drawn to secluded, damp areas in your home like unventilated crawl spaces or basements.

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