There are three common species of earwigs – the European earwig, ring-legged earwig and the seaside earwig.  However the seaside earwig likes to be near the ocean so we in Las Vegas are not bothered by this species.  Earwigs are more active at night and that might have stirred the old wives tale that earwigs purposely crawl into people’s ears while they are sleeping and find their way to the brain – Totally Not True!

During the day earwigs go into hiding and like to rest in dark moist cracks like under debris, stones and tree barks.  Their diet consists of both animal matter and plants – leaves, fruits, flowers and other insects including flies.

The female earwig show maternal instincts when producing eggs.  They dig a burrow in the ground and deposit anywhere from 20 to 60 eggs.  She then organizes them into a pile.  The female then guards her nest from any intruder including her mate.  Throughout the growth period of the embryo the female picks up each egg and licks them in her mouth.  Experts think that this function perhaps is to prevent any fungus from growing on the surface of the egg.  When the baby earwigs are hatched they remain in the hidden burrow and the female gathers food for them. The hatching process can be about 70 days during cooler temperatures and 20 days in warmer weather.

European earwigs are dark reddish-brown in color with a reddish head and pale yellowish-brown legs and the adult is 5/8 inch long in length.  The males have different-sized forceps with a complexity of forms up to 3/16 inch long.  The female’s have a cerci (a small appendage at the end of the abdomen in pairs).

The ringed-legged earwig color varies from black to brown with a yellowish-brown undersurface and the legs are yellowish with brown stripes.  The adult ringed-legged earwig can be 1 inch long with 16 to 18 segmented brown antennae.

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