Despite their scary appearance and reputation, earwigs are not directly harmful to humans. In fact, they are often beneficial, acting as scavengers of decaying matter and predators of insect larvae, slug eggs, aphids, and other garden pests.
Adult earwigs are about 1.5 to 2.0 cm (1/2″ to ¾”) long and have antennae about half as long. The male has a large, curved pair, while the female has smaller, nearly straight ones. The earwig uses these during courtship and as a defense against attackers. Earwigs have a long, flat body with a tough, shiny, reddish-brown hard outer shell and prominent pincers (or forceps) at the end of their bodies.
Earwigs live only one year. They spend the winter in pairs hiding just below the soil surface, usually close to house foundations. Warm weather brings them out of hibernation. In the spring, each female lays as many as 60 round, pearly white eggs in a nest in the top 5 cm of the soil. The mother then chases the male away from the nest and remains to guard the eggs and tend to the young for the first two weeks.
When they are about 6 mm long, the young (nymphs) leave the nest in search of food. They generally look like the adult, but are smaller. About 20% of the females lay a second batch of eggs in June; these young (nymphs) appear in July and August.