Earwigs are nocturnal insects of the order Dermaptera, meaning ‘skin wing’. The abdomen of an earwig ends in a pair of cerci, which resemble forceps. The cerci are used for holding prey and sometimes in copulation. Not all earwigs have wings and even those that are capable of flying rarely do so.
Earwigs feed on other arthropods, plants, ripe fruit and garbage. They are drawn to damp conditions which is why they are often found in bathrooms or around showers and sinks.
Females lay eggs in early spring or autumn in batches of 20 to 30 at a time. The mother guards the eggs while they develop, cleaning off fungi as it grows and protecting the eggs from predators. The mother only ceases caring for her young when the nymphs are around ten days old. The nymphs moult five or six times before becoming adults.
Despite the popular myth, earwigs do not crawl into your ear to feed on your brain while you sleep. They do, however, present a nuisance to homeowners. Here are a few tips for managing earwigs: Remember that earwigs are attracted to moist areas, so improvements to drainage around the perimeter of your building can reduce the number of earwigs migrating indoors.
Make sure that window screens are properly fitted and make use of weather stripping. Doors and door frames are the most common entry point for earwigs. Examine every door in your house and seal up any drafts.
If you find a large number of earwigs in one place, the best thing to do is vacuum them up! Be sure to do this quickly or they will scatter.