iStock-480329786
  • Up to 1 ¼ inches
  • Red-brown to black
  • Some are wingless and others have a pair of leathery forewings covering a few segments of the abdomen and the membranous hind wings that protrude. Very few can fly
  • Forceps-like appendages at the end of the abdomen are strongly curved in the male, but in the female they are smaller and less curved
  • Forceps are used primarily for defense and during courtship and cannot harm people
  • Prefer dead insects and rotted plant material, but some are predators
  • Active at night, attracted to light in large numbers
  • During the day they live in shelter beneath stones, boards, sidewalks, or debris.
  • Eggs are laid 2-3 inches beneath the surface of the soil
  • Young leave the nest after the first molt
  • Heavy rain and rapid temperature changes are detrimental to them
  • Some feed on living plants and become pests in greenhouses and field crops
  • Some tunnel as deeply as 6 feet under ground to escape the cold
  • The name Earwig is derived from a superstition that these insects enter the ear of sleeping people and bore into the brain. This belief is misguided