This wet spring has brought a high number of earwigs to the lawn, garden and even in homes. Earwigs do not hurt people. They feed on vegetation outdoors. They can crawl inside homes by going underneath siding and through cracks and crevices. Thorough vacuuming will remove them from inside the house as well as banging on the siding outside to disturb their nesting sites. Perimeter insecticidal sprays aimed at the cement foundation just below the bottom of the siding will keep them from going back up the siding.
Earwigs have pincers on the end of the abdomen called cerci. These are strongly curve in the males and are straight-sided on the females. Earwigs have a gradual metamorphosis hatching from an cluster of eggs laid in the soil into white nymphs that looks pretty much like the adults shape-wise. They will gain the brown color after their first molt. The mother earwig feeds the newly hatched white nymphs until their first molt after which they forage for food on their own. There is usually one generation per year, but each female will produce two broods of eggs. Some populations will overwinter as adults.
Earwigs are nocturnal, mostly, preferring to feed at night and hide under anything during the day. Personally, they love my mailbox requiring me to shake out the pile of envelopes and newspapers before bringing them into the house! Earwigs will eat just about any plant, flower and fruit. They love tender new seedlings, causing considerable damage to later planted vegetable seeds.
Control measures are to eliminate hiding places such as mulch, boards and garden debris. Sanitation goes along way in removing their nesting sites. Or create areas where they will likely hide and then hand pick or crush them in the morning or shake them into a bucket of soapy water. Pesticides are normally not warranted after cleaning up the garden and creating traps.
The University of California has a unique trapping system quoted below:
A key element of an earwig management program is trapping. Scatter numerous traps throughout the yard. Traps can easily be hidden near shrubbery and ground cover plantings, or against fences. A low-sided can such as a cat food or tuna fish can, with 1/2-inch of oil in the bottom makes an excellent trap. Fish oil (e.g., tuna fish oil) is very attractive to earwigs or vegetable oil with a drop of bacon grease can be used. Dump captured earwigs and refill cans with oil. Other common types of traps are a rolled-up newspaper, corrugated cardboard, bamboo tube, or short piece of hose. Place these traps on the soil near plants just before dark and shake accumulated earwigs out into a pail of soapy water in the morning. Continue these procedures every day until you are no longer catching earwigs.”