Silverfish vs Earwigs: What’s the Difference?


Many creatures across the US have multiple colloquial names. Many people might think that this is the case with silverfish and earwigs, but the truth is they are different creatures. Learn what these bugs are, their similarities and differences, and how you can take care of an infestation in your home.

What Are Silverfish and Earwigs?

Silverfish and earwigs are tiny bugs that are similar in appearance. Both prefer moist environments, are super-fast, and are primarily nocturnal. That means both insects are active at night but found moving about during the day in dark areas. They are active all year long and don’t hibernate.  

For the most part, they’re not predacious by nature, but some do go after other small insects. They are, however, two completely different species of insect, and each has its own appearance and behaviors to be aware of.


Silverfish vs. Earwigs: Differences Between the Two

Besides the similarities listed above, silverfish and earwigs are more different than alike. Silverfish, for example, might be found in attics, basements, and other humid areas of homes. On the other hand, Earwigs are generally found outdoors beneath piles of mulch or decaying leaves. Earwigs have appendages that protrude from their abdomen opposite their antennae that look like pincers. These are called forceps. Silverfish have three straight protruding appendages that are more hair-like.

Earwigs have a hard exoskeleton, while silverfish have a scale-like coating that will mark paper if rubbed. Silverfish have softer bodies overall as a result. Earwigs may be winged and fly, while silverfish will not.

Have an Earwig infestation? Learn more about them here

Earwigs are of the order Dermaptera, and silverfish are of Thysanura. Silverfish are often found in spaces of homes with high moisture, such as cupboards, basements, and laundry rooms. 


Do They Present Risks?

Neither silverfish nor earwigs pose a significant danger to humans. Contrary to popular myth, earwigs do not enter human ears to lay eggs. If you see earwigs in your home, they may have come in to escape hot temperatures or to seek moisture in times of drought. Perhaps the most significant risk of these two bugs is that their stings do hurt a little. However, they are not poisonous.


Getting Rid of Silverfish and Earwigs

Even though these creatures don’t present significant health risks to humans, they can infest your house, and they can get into your food, which nobody wants. Silverfish, in particular, love to consume sugar, human hair, dandruff, paper, glue, and cellulose, such as is found in shaving cream and shampoo.

Unfortunately, they can be tough to get rid of once you have them in your house. They breed fast, and you’ll need someone capable of tracking down their nest and eliminating the problem at the source. If you see these bugs in your house, contact Dr. Death Pest Control today!

Currently only servicing Henderson and Boulder City.

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