Most earwigs are elongated, flattened, and are dark brown. Lengths are mostly in the quarter- to half-inch range 10–14 mm). Cerci range from nonexistent to long arcs up to one-third as long as the rest of the body. Their mouthparts are designed for chewing, as in other orthopteroid insects.
The abdomen of the earwig is flexible and muscular. It is capable of maneuvering as well as opening and closing the forceps. The forceps are used for a variety of purposes. In some species, the forceps have been observed in use for holding prey, and in copulation. The forceps tend to be more curved in males than in females.
Most earwigs found in North America are of the species Forficula auricularia, (the common earwig), which is distributed throughout the cooler parts of the northern hemisphere. This species feeds on other arthropods, plants, ripe fruit, and garbage. Plants that they feed on typically include clover, dahlias,zinnias, butterfly bush, hollyhock, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberry,sunflowers, celery, peaches, plums, grapes, potatoes, roses, seedling beans and beets, and tender grass shoots and roots; they have also been known to eat corn silk, damaging the corn. Typically they are a nuisance because of their diet, but normally do not present serious hazards to crops. Some tropical species are brightly colored. Occasionally earwigs are confused with cockroaches because of their cerci and their long antennae.
Treatment starts with a thorough inspection for the primary source of the infestation and any conducive conditions. After that recommendations are made for good sanitation practices and/or elimination of conducive conditions. Then a pesticide application maybe preformed when necessary.