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What Are the Differences Between Termites and Earwigs?

When insects invade your home, it's important to identify the pests correctly if you want to treat an infestation right the first time. If you misidentify the pests and use the wrong treatments, getting rid of termites and earwigs will mean spending more money down the road and dealing with a larger infestation in the meantime. In the case of identifying earwigs and termites, one is not like the other.

The Difference Between Earwigs and Termites

An earwig on the wall

This is an earwig. It's long, has pincers and invades interior spaces.

Earwigs and termites have nothing in common. They don't look the same or eat the same foods; they also prefer different living conditions. Termites look like ants with big heads, wide abdomens and straight antennae. They live in massive colonies and consume wood as they attack buildings, furniture and more.

Earwigs may or may not live in groups depending on the species. They prefer dark, moist areas and feed mainly on decaying vegetation. They have long, slender bodies with pincers located at the rear of the abdomen. Most species use the pincers for defense, but predatory species use them for catching prey.

Which Insect Causes More Damage?

A termite colony

Termites in a colony. They devour 6 pounds or more of wood each year.

Termites cause more damage than any other insect combined. They attack wooden timbers and feed on the structures, increasing their colony's size over time. These insects cause more than a billion dollars in damages each year. It's important to treat the termites with potent termiticides at the first sign of their presence. Earwigs feed on plant matter and may attack live plants in some cases. When they infest interiors, they're seen primarily as a nuisance.

How to Get Rid of Termites and Earwigs

Insecticides have various formulations for targeting, killing and controlling various pests. Some formulas wipe out termites, earwigs and other insects, providing broad-spectrum control. However, you may have to use a stronger termiticide depending on the termite species and the infestation level. Spray or granular insecticides, including insect glue traps, will get rid of the earwigs in your home and help to prevent future infestations.

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