Possibly the easiest insects to identify in your home or landscape, earwigs get their name from folk tales that tell of earwigs crawling into ears as humans sleep. There's no evidence to support those stories, but earwigs can be pests just the same.

Adult European earwigs — the primary troublemaker for U.S. homeowners — are reddish-brown and grow about 3/4 inch long. They have slender, segmented antennae and unmistakable "pinchers" on their abdomen tips. The forceps-like pinchers, used for defense, are slender and straight on female earwigs. Male earwig pinchers are stouter and more curved. Immature earwigs look like adults, but they're smaller and lighter brown.


In landscapes, earwigs feed on leaves, flowers, buds and fruits, leaving large irregular holes behind. They gravitate toward young, tender plants. Earwigs don't leave slug-like slime behind, but the damage looks a lot like slug and snail damage. Earwigs also chew through stems, much like cutworms. They work at night and prefer cool, moist hiding places during daylight hours. Earwigs may enter homes in large numbers during dry, hot months — if they can find a route.


Despite their unsettling appearance, earwigs are no more than short-lived nuisances indoors. Find and repair the openings that let them in, then sweep or vacuum up the intruders. Outdoors, effective control focuses on protecting plants and the perimeter around your home. Amdro® brand products take care of both:

  • Amdro Quick Kill® Outdoor Insect Killer liquids work to kill earwigs and other listed pests by contact, then keep working for up to three months.* Attach the ready-to-spray formula's container to a regular garden hose, or use the concentrate with a garden sprayer. Perfect for treating landscape plants and lawns, these products also treat your home's foundation up to a maximum height of 3 feet.
  • Amdro Quick Kill Lawn Insect Killer Granules II, applied with a standard lawn spreader, deliver a mulchand soil-penetrating answer to earwig control. Apply the ready-to-use granules, then water the treated area. The granules kill earwigs within 24 hours and keep working to prevent earwig intrusions for up to three months.
  • Amdro Quick Kill Home Perimeter Insect Killer Granules provide an ideal way to kill earwigs within your home's immediate perimeter before they make their way inside. The convenient shaker container makes it simple to create a band of protection. The product kills by contact and keeps killing earwigs that enter the area for up to three months.


Garden debris and moisture combine to create ideal earwig hangouts. Keep your foundation areas clear of leaves and debris, and repair any leaky faucets or drain spouts. Earwigs are also drawn to lights. Cut down on nighttime lighting or switch to yellow "bug lights" to reduce your home's earwig allure.

* Except fleas, ticks and mosquitoes

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including application rates and guidelines for foundations.
Amdro and Amdro Quick Kill are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company.

Is this not your insect?