Earwigs belong to their own small order of insects. Most are easily recognizable by having a pair of cerci at the end of their long abdomens. Immature earwigs have straight cerci that remain so in adult females but generally become curved in adult males. Earwigs use their cerci to defend themselves and for grasping prey or each other during mating.
Most earwigs scavenge on dead plants and animals. Some are insect predators and others may eat and damage live plants. Earwigs need cool and moist environments, so they are usually active at night and spend the day hiding under tree bark or objects on the ground. After mating in the fall, adult pairs overwinter in soil together. When males leave in the spring, females lay eggs and continue to care for their offspring through the early nymphal stages, a behavior that is unusual in non-social insects.
Earwigs are noticed most during late spring to early summer as new populations begin to emerge from the soil around structures. Depending on the population pressure, treatment targeted to exterior building perimeters, plant beds and/or lawns will be most effective. Several treatment options are available and include granular baits, granular insecticides that are watered into soil and liquid residuals.
Photo Credit: Tom Oats, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons