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 (.59 to .79 inches) long and have antennae about half as long. The male has a large, curved pair of antennae, while the female has smaller, nearly straight ones. The earwig uses these during courtship and as a defence 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.
While decaying organic matter forms the largest part of their diet, earwigs also feed on the tender shoots, leaves, and blossoms of flowering plants and vegetables. Earwigs, being also carnivorous, are predators of insect larvae, slug eggs, aphids, and other garden pests. They sometimes even eat each other.
During the day, earwigs like to hide in cool, dark, moist places: under stones, in garden rubbish, tubular legs of garden furniture, wooden fences, hollow aluminium doors, and other cracks and crevices. Earwigs begin searching for food at dusk. In search of food and shelter, they crawl over the ground, climb houses, fences and trees, and may begin to wander into homes in June or July. Although they are accidental invaders, it is annoying to find these insects among food and clothes and occasionally between bed covers.