Earwigs aren’t harmful and should be left alone if they show up in manageable numbers in your home or garden. They are part of a natural ecosystem and actually feed on pests like aphids, boxelder bugs, and mites. However, they can be a nuisance and should be controlled as needed. They can also leave behind ragged holes in plant tissue. Birds and toads are natural predators of earwigs, so keeping their population under control will help keep them where they belong: outside.
While earwigs are usually outdoor insects, they sometimes move indoors in search of cooler and moist locations to live and scavenge during the day. These nocturnal insects are attracted to damp, dark spots, such as in the soil of houseplants, under rugs or carpet, and in stacks of newspapers. They are frequently brought inside by people who bring outside items inside, such as lawn furniture or flower pots.
When a female earwig finds a suitable hiding place, she lays 20 to 60 eggs and licks the surface of each one to prevent fungus from growing on them and stopping them from hatching. The pheromones she releases as she does so also attract other female earwigs. This is why you often see a mass of these pests together in pantries, bathrooms, and other similar dark places.
To help keep earwigs outside where they belong, move mulch, leaf piles, and firewood away from the foundation of your home. Clean gutters regularly and point drains multiple feet away from the structure to avoid wet, earwig-friendly spots around your house. In the garden, remove overly shady areas and trim back shrubs and trees to prevent cover from encouraging earwig activity.