What do Earwigs Eat?

Earwigs got their name from an old wives’ tale that suggests they crawl into people’s ears. In actuality, these insects in the order Dermaptera eat other insects and plant matter. But you may be wondering what exactly is on the menu when it comes to an earwig’s diet.

What do earwigs eat?

Earwigs are omnivores, so they eat other insects, pollens, lichens and certain plants. Insects commonly preyed upon by earwigs – which they will consume alive or dead – include sowbugs, mites, aphids and the eggs of other insects. Once inside a home, the earwig diet expands to include stored goods such as cookies, flour and breads.

Do earwigs eat plants?

Yes, earwigs are opportunistic eaters and they consume certain types of plants. Earwigs will eat new plant growth, softer fruits such as apricots, vegetables, ornamental plants and some flowers. These insects can become a nuisance in greenhouses and gardens, where they will feed on leafy greens such as lettuce, along with radishes, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and in some cases, peanut pods.

Do earwigs eat wood?

While it is documented that earwigs eat the aforementioned types of plants, there is no evidence available to suggest that they also eat wood.

Now that you know what makes up the earwig diet, you can keep an eye out for them in your home or garden. In small numbers outdoors, these insects are considered beneficial because they prey on other nuisance pests. However, if you are seeing large numbers of them, it may be time to consult a pest management professional.